Keep the Shovel

The official sister of Muddled Ramblings has on occasion told me about a show called “Pimp My Ride.” In this show, photogenic people turn their old, crappy vehicles over to a bunch of talented and resourceful people who “pimp it out”, as the kids say. In this case “pimp” does not mean to use the car to promote prostitution, rather it means convert the vehicle into one a pimp might drive. This means it must have “bling”: conspicuous and profligate disregard for cost, a desire to attract attention at the sacrifice of taste. Money for money’s sake.

Today for the first time I saw (but did not hear) the show. It opened with many scenes of a frighteningly cute young woman driving an old, beat-up Land Cruiser. The vehicle had no doors. I *heart* explosives, a sticker on the front bumper proclaimed. On the left front fender a short-handled shovel was anchored. When you’re in deep sand, a thousand miles from home, a shovel can save your life. Various people in hip-hop attire were shown posing next to the sticker and the shovel. The seats had four-point harnesses and the speakers were in black-spraypainted wooden boxes rattling around in back.

The bubbly young lady was shooed away and the pimping began. In my head, I was imagining how I would trick out this particular ride. They gave the thing new paint (yellow!) and front ironwork with lights. Nice. That eliminated the bumper sticker that everyone had made such a big deal of, but I was sure that the ‘explosives’ motif would be honored some other way. I mean, shit. Explosives.

I was wrong. The pixie came back, jumped up and down with terrific excitement, and fawned over her transformed vehicle. My thought: where’s the shovel? Apparently all that time spent posing next to the shovel was to bury it, not praise it. These urban ride-pimpers had no respect for the rural, self-sufficient, working-man characteristics of the vehicle. What I thought had been a great chance to build up and enhance an iconic vehicle was just another makeover, like taking a great singer and cramming her into the conformity-box of American Idol. A wilderness hero goes Hollywood.

Apparently Little Miss Sunshine, whom, based on her vehicle, I had judged to be an independent desert rat, a rambler, in fact was just in the wrong car to start with. That, or she was good at pretending to be happy.

And you know what? Even in Hollywood, that shovel should have stayed. The businesslike seats should have stayed. The ride would have benefitted from a little bit of badass (big tires on shiny wheels are often mistaken for badass, as they were in this case, but you know the real thing when you see it). All the time the people spent posing next to the shovel is proof that it made an impression.

There were lots of cool things the ride-pimpers added to the vehicle, and I have to admit that if I’d not seen the original I would have just written the result off as another toy truck that some rich kid bought. Knowing its history, though, I know that truck could have been so much more.

Whatever you’re doing out there, make sure you keep the shovel. The shovel is where the soul is.


2 thoughts on “Keep the Shovel

  1. BTW, pimp my ride is probably one of those while you were away in the Czech repub things. “Alex, I’ll take Cultural memes I might’ve been absent for.”
    In fact it’s old enough I’m surprised it’s still on (I haven’t gotten that tier of cable channels in a long long time).

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