The Car or a Million Ways of Getting Scratched!

A long time ago in a living room far far away … … ok, it was not so long ago, more like 7 to 8 years ago, and it’s not really far away, if you happen to live in Singapore.  There was a time, before I became a monk, when I owned a car, a green Mazda 323.  Decent car, got me around.  After the company transport allowance, I only had to top up $200+ monthly for the car loan.  Life was good.  Until The Dent.  Or The Scratch.

It’s bound to happen.  Cars and iPhones (and the LG wide screen phones) are scratch magnets.  From the day you release them from the factory protections bondages, they scream out to the whole world “Scratch me!  Dent me!”.  And it happened to my car as well.  Someone apparently foxed their way through parking test and left a signature on my car.  Honestly, when I saw it, I was like “hmmm … …”.  I believe the rear door still worked, and the window still wound up and down, so I didn’t really bother about it.  I drove around with the Dent.  (It was really a combo of A Scratch and Dent).

My colleagues and friends started noticing it and wondered what happened.  I shrugged it off without much concern.  Not that I didn’t care, but the car was ok, just dented.  But my dad, he cared.  In fact, he grumbled to me everytime he sees it.  In fact, he grumbled to me everytime he sees me, never mind the car.  So much so, it led me to sit him down one day and have the Talk with him.

“Dad, tell me, how many ways can a car get scratched?”

My dad was confused with my question.  He was probably wondering what kind of question that was.

“A million ways, infinite ways”, I offered after a few seconds, without really waiting for a definite technical answer from him.

“Technically, there are infinite ways for a car to get scratched, but let’s say that there are hundreds of thousands or millions of ways to scratch a car.  Now if you are gonna get upset over one scratch, then technically, there are at least millions of ways to get you upset.”

My point, obviously, was not into whether there was a million or a million + one ways to scratch the car, but that getting all so attached to the car and becoming upset because of scratches on it is perhaps not the most intelligent if not useful way of living one’s life.

“In short, you should look at the car as ‘A million ways of getting scratched’ and stop being so attached to it or being upset over every single scratch or dent!”.

I’m not sure if the message got to him, or he was busy calculating the actual figure, but he kinda simmered down after that and laid low about scratches and dents.  I guess it also helped that I agree to get it fixed at a workshop he found. 😉

This is the thing about advertising isn’t it?  It is all about highlighting certain aspects of a product / object or its intended properties, sometimes even to the extent of exaggerating them such that the product becomes delightful and desirable.  Imagine if car makers were to advertise:

Introducing, the latest in automobile.  The MWGS-66 … Sporty, Elegant, Prestigious … A Million Ways of Getting Scratched!

I doubt they would sell much eh?

So, the next time you see a car ad, insert your own Dharma punch line behind, and see how that helps you curb your craving or impulse buying.  (Oops, do I see men in suits coming at me?)


Disclaimer:  I’m not techno-phobe or car-phobe.  Neither am I against using cars as a form of
transport.  I’m just suggesting for us to look at cars or our own ‘poison’ in a different way, and perhaps relate to it in a manner that does not enslave us to it.  🙂