Sunday, July 13, 2003

Spoiler Alert

It's called a spoiler. I didn't know that. Now that it's gone, though, I know more about spoilers and their place in society than I should.

A spoiler is the decorative bar that's placed at the top of the trunk on many cars, including my Mazda 626 Hatchback. It was part of what made the car look cool and fashionable.

One morning, I came down to my car to drive off to work. The spoiler was gone.

Ripped off, figuratively and literally. Right off the trunk of the car. All that was left was the screws that once held it in.

I know that car emblems are stolen. But a whole spoiler? That takes work.

My car is a company car, so that means the company takes care of the insurance and repairs. I went into the car office. I told them I wanted a new spoiler.

"No can do," said Eli. Well it sounded like that, only it was in very rapidly-spoken Hebrew so I'm loosely translating.

"Why not?" I asked.

"Company won't pay for it. It costs 5000 shekels," he replied. "We'll fill in the holes for you. Come in next Tuesday."

"But I loved that spoiler. I want a new spoiler."

"Next Tuesday, 9:00 AM."

Why bother, I thought. A 626 Hatchback with a spoiler is as pedestrian as a sedan. I might as well leave the protruding screws there, as a memory, or as proof that I once had a car that made a statement.

I suppose it could be worse. Before the violence started in September 2000, when the borders were much more open than they are today, whole cars would be stolen. Some ended up as state vehicles for Palestinian Authority officials. Others would be stripped for parts and sold back to Israeli garages since used parts were much lower in price.

I suppose you could get your car stolen, buy a new car and not long after wind up buying a used carburetor from your original car.

Indeed, we had one friend who had three Toyota Corollas stolen in succession. He finally bought a Ford.

In the last year, car thefts are down 18%. One ironic benefit of the war.

"Who would want to steal a spoiler anyway?" I asked Eli.

"Are you kidding," laughed Eli. "There's not a car in the country that still has its spoiler." A bit of an exaggeration, but I got the point.

"What would someone do with a stolen spoiler anyway?"

"They put them on their own cars. Or they sell them to people who have had their spoilers stolen."

I should have figured...

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