Here is a classic video from Art Linkletter. He asks questions, and the kid's responses are priceless!
Can you share something that was from the mouth of a babe?
One job I’ve done is to provide ground support for car rallies. Europe is big on these, which are events where people with lots of money meet then drive to a destination via checkpoints, for no good reason at all. I’m told the inspiration for them was a movie called Cannonball Run, but I’ve never seen the movie so I don’t know. The routes are planned and permission is given by the countries where the cars will be driving. Ground support means we ride along in some ho-hum vehicle and make ourselves available to solve any problems that might come up. Once in a while we get to ride in the nice cars. Just for fun.
The year I’m writing about started in London. I’m always hired by several people so I work for 4 or 5 teams. Our first checkpoint was the Frankfurt airport in Germany, where the cars and people would be flown to the next checkpoint. Each car was given GPS devices called Co-Pilots, which provided real-time updates on each device’s position. The world could log in to the internet and track any rally car they wanted to.
Everything was wonderful. Our Co-Pilots seemed to know exactly how to get us to the euro tunnel, aka the Chunnel, so we relaxed. The Co-Pilot got us to the loading station that would take us under the English Channel and into France. Then Something Happened. There was a problem with one of the two Porsches in our group. It was brand-spanking new, bought in the U.S. and shipped to England where it cleared customs with no problem. France didn’t agree. A “gentleman” I’ve since named FiFi LePew looked at the car and said one word: “NO!”, and waved us away. There was something wrong with the license plate. Some expert Europeans told us stupid Americans what we needed to do. Buy tape and crayons. Since I was the “technical advisor” for the group, we did. We figured we had nothing to lose when the license plate looked like something a 3 year-old would make. Back to the euro tunnel.
It is an entirely unfortunate coincidence that FiFi LePew was still on duty when we tried to get access to the euro tunnel the 2nd time. He turned the brightest shade of red I’ve ever seen on a person and informed us we’d insulted not only him, but all of France. We were taken to a room and presented with documents (in French) that we were told we had to sign or be arrested. I couldn’t translate the entire document, but could tell that we were basically agreeing that 1) we were bad, 2) we’d attempted to commit a crime against France and 3) we wouldn’t try to enter France with contraband (e.g. a brand new Porsche).
Plan B. A ferry from a place called Harwich to another place called Cuxhaven. Now if you know me, you know not to trust me to navigate anywhere, even if the path is lit with flashing arrows. I will get lost. It’s a fact. Disorientation is contagious and can be passed from human to machine, which is why our GPS unit directed us to one of the seediest areas of England. We were on a street with speed bumps in low-profile cars. This means you have to pretty much stop in order to keep from bottoming out when you go over each speed bump. Then we saw people. Not nice people, but a group of gangster-looking people coming our way. In the middle of the night, part of a caravan consisting of 5 ridiculously expensive cars, lost and unarmed except for a spoon. We had sports cars, we could outrun them. VROOOMMM! SPEEDBUMP! ERRRRCH! Thump-thump. VROOOMMM! SPEEDBUMP! ERRRRCH! Thump-thump. To Hell with it. VROOOMMM! THWACK THWACK THWACK THWACK THWACK THWACK THWACK.
Harwich: The ferry to Cuxhaven. Cuxhaven happens to be in Germany. We went to check in for the ferry crossing and were taken to a little room by a man wearing a distinctly military uniform. German Homeland Security, actually. This was one of those times when you’re sure what’s happening to you is just a bad dream. Little FiFi LePew had put an alert out on us. Not us really. The damn car. We were told sternly that we were bad (we already learned this in France) and that if we tried to leave GB with contraband (the damn car), we would be considered a threat to national security. Clearly, the new Porsche was staying in England. We all got pretty stamps on our passports saying we’d been detained by Homeland Security. They should have just wrapped turbans around our heads and strapped fake dynamite to us. It would have been less trouble.
Without going into details, we got a legal, non-contraband car, drove the Porsche to a dealer’s lot in England, which unwillingly took care of the car after we threw the keys into the showroom and left for the ferry again. We finally made it to Germany!
40 hours after our first attempt to leave London, we arrived at the Frankfurt airport in Germany. Checkpoint 1. We all boarded a passenger plane and left the cars (about 120 of them) to be loaded by the rally ground crew onto a cargo plane. I was asleep before we left the ground. We landed in Istanbul and were taken to a hotel. Our cars were supposed to be unloaded at a nearby airfield while the rally drivers had a party. I bathed, slept, then caught a ride to the airfield to check out the equipment in the cars I was responsible for. I had a PDA and was texting to anyone who happened to be out there.
3:12 a.m. Sitting on a bench waiting for the cars. It’s cold.
3:39 a.m. Where are the cars? Some dog’s laying on my feet. Feels kinda warm.
4:23 a.m. Left foot’s asleep. Afraid to move the dog. What happened to the cars?
4:59 a.m. Still no cars. Dog finally left. Am I in the right place?
5:40 a.m. Feel like an idiot. Waiting for imaginary cars.
6:17 a.m. Gotta pee. Pls send a ride. Still no cars.
6:48 a.m. Headed back. No F-ing cars! WTF??
I don’t know much about Turkey but they’re amazing magicians. They managed to disappear an entire plane full of 120 cars. Poof! Gone! It’s not like the pilot’s going to pull over to the side of the sky for a nap. How do you lose an entire plane??? It took 10 hours to find it. In Greece.
After Greece it became clear that the new governments of some countries weren’t ready for the likes of us, so everyone respectfully withdrew. No sense wreaking havoc on countries recovering from war. Each time I work something like this, I walk away thinking I’ve now seen everything. I’m always wrong. This all took place over the course of about 3 days. It used to take me 3 years to do this much. I see the same zest for life here at the nest. You all aren’t just living, you’re living out loud.
So there you have it. And if I ever see FiFi LePew again with his nasal French disdain, I want to tell him to stick his finger up his nose so his brains don’t fall out.
As for that pretty stamp from German Homeland Security on my passport, it’s given me a new experience. Full body cavity searches. I’ve gotten to where I just drop ‘em and spread ‘em. A real travel treat.