Who among us can look back at their teenage years and not find at least one thing to cringe about? If we’re being honest, few could probably look back and find less than a couple dozen things that would qualify as cringe-worthy.
To be fair, though, it isn’t easy being a teenager. You’re trying to find your own sense of style and personality, but you don’t really know anything.
Since cars are one of the first things teenagers can customize and make all their own —“You won’t let me hang a Slayer poster in the living room, but you can’t stop me from putting ten Slayer bumper stickers on my car!” — it’s not a surprise that some of the choices teens make with their cars are ones they might regret later.
I was no exception to this rule. Here are four things I did to my car that I’d deserve to lose my license for if I did them today:
If It’s Louder, That Means it Goes Faster, Right?
The quintessential teenage car modification has got to be adding an obnoxiously loud exhaust system to your car. I wish I could remember what I was thinking, but somehow I overlooked that sticking a tin can on the end of my tailpipe — a bit of an exaggeration, but not a big one — did not make my four-cylinder engine any more powerful.
Sure, my car labored to get up the steep hill at the end of my street when I had more than two passengers on board, and you should’ve heard the horrendous sound as it climbed. But, I guess at least I didn’t add just whistler tips and become a viral video legend. Woo WOO!
It’s About Aerodynamics, Dude
Second only to the muffler on the list of “misguided teenage automobile modifications” has got to be the spoiler. I blame the advent of the Fast and Furious franchise — back before they were sticking numbers in random places in the title — for my teenage desire to strap an airplane wing to my trunk.
To be fair, with all the power my coffee-can exhaust was adding to my lawn-mower engine, I needed to keep my tail end down or risk losing a lot of traction. Never mind the fact that I don’t think I ever checked the tread on my tires a single time.
The Rolling Refrigerator
Bumper stickers are all kind of boring, aren’t they? You know what’s much more interesting? Magnetic poetry. Not only did this give strangers a perfect excuse to get close to my car to scope out the interior, but it also let them leave me rude — though occasionally hilarious — messages, which was kind of the point. It also had the added bonus of scratching up my paint. Not like that mattered on a junky Chevy Prism.
These days, I think maybe one magnet with a single logo can look okay, but it’s hardly unique. You don’t see too many people driving around looking like somebody dumped a bunch of Scrabble tiles all over their car.
If This Sticker Doesn’t Make You See It My Way, What Could?
Dabbling in the unexplained magic of magnets wasn’t the only way I made the exterior of my car my own. I did also paper my bumper with actual stickers. Unfortunately, I had no idea, or really just didn’t even consider, that the bumper stickers would last way longer than my interest in the things they represented. So. Many. Bad. Bands.
When I look back at what I did to my car as a teenager, I still cringe. But, at least reminiscing about those modifications is good for a pretty big laugh, too.