Beckwith: The wheels inside my head

My car is semi-retired. Betts, my metallic blue Blazer, doesn’t leave the valley anymore. Thank god for the bus system, because this semi-retirement is out of necessity.

Let’s see here, I can’t drive when it snows because my heat no longer works, which is funny because when I lived in Miami the heat was stuck on max. The muffler fell off almost a decade ago. The dent above the rear bumper from an unseen fire hydrant is still there. The dent on a rear side door from my buddy backing into Betts before leaving for work remains. (Unlike the hydrant, my car was visible in his rearview mirror had he checked.) The partly crushed front bumper from my friend pushing my car up his driveway with his plumbing van, succeeding, and then jamming the gas for whatever reason and crushing my bumper wasn’t enough damage to require a repair. (That wasn’t the only thing the plumbing van took out that night as it also laid waste to my parents’ mailbox after the aforementioned friend dropped me off.) The on/off volume knob on the stereo with blown speakers is missing. I have a growing crack across the windshield, and the rear wiper doesn’t work.

However, she still drives, and the windows, four-wheel drive and doors all work. Barring a surprise financial windfall, those luxury options combined with my aversion to car payments and a certain nostalgia for Betts are why I’ll probably drive her into the ground. The end is near. I can see a shiny used car in my future, but I’m not going to bore you with the process that leads to me buying the smallest pickup truck available, a search akin to finding an actual small soft drink at McDonald’s.

Today’s hypothetical quest is to find the most frivolous and impractical mode of transportation possible. I’m essentially asking and answering the question: If I were wealthy and had a second home in Aspen, what single-season vehicle would I drive during the summer?

I know nothing says impractical and frivolous like an Escalade. The second I see one of those on a legit four-wheel road is the second I win the lottery and buy a new car. Well, I guess that’s it. Column over. Cadillac Escalade is the winner. Goodbye, until next — wait, what’s that? Sure, sure. OK, got it.

So apparently my editor says I need to fill at least 7 more inches of space. Let’s just take cars off the list. My next choice is … golf cart that looks like a Hummer. I’ve seen a yellow version in town but couldn’t find one on the internet. That said, I did find another golf cart that looks like an expensive car for around $12,000. Subsequently, that’s in my price range for my next car. Perfect, all that I ask of you now is when you see a guy driving a mini Mustang golf cart on 82 with clubs and a few baskets of laundry, no need to be alarmed. I’m just on my way for 18 holes and laundry at my parents’ in Carbondale.

Dang, still need to fill more space. Uhhhh, Segways. That’s it, Segways. When I found out you can spend $7,000 on a commercial Segway, my first thought was, There are commercial Segways? My second thought was, Awe yeah, give me that death Segway. You know, the same one the owner of the company drove off a cliff. Which is a true story by the way. The owner of the Segway, Jimi Heselden, died via Segway accident. Side note: Heselden was not the inventor. That was a guy named Dean Kamen, who’s still alive. I’m telling you this because I wanted to let you know why I didn’t use the line, “The inventor of the Segway getting killed while riding a Segway is like Thomas Edison dying while screwing in a light bulb.”

We’re nearing the end of this piece and probably my career at The Aspen Times, so let’s go with two final options.

The first is a Smart car. Nope, I’d like to avoid any situation where my choice of car lends itself to gobs of one-liners if I somehow died in that mobile beer can. “What happened, Daniels?” “He turned out into traffic. Never saw that Geo Metro coming.” “I guess you could say he was outsmarted by a car discontinued in the ’90s.” “Terrible joke aside, did you just make light of a man dying in a car accident?” “Yes?” “Go wait in the car, Jacobsen.”

What? You’re cutting me off? I’ve exceeded my word limit? But I have one more group to insult. Mountain bikes: For the same price as a used motorcycle you can break all the same bones but remain environmentally conscious. You want to know why people who ride mountain bikes suck, well, let me tell you someth i — wait, unhand me, you wanted more content, I gave you more content. Noooo!

Sean Beckwith did not actually fight with his editor for this column. It was an inner dialogue with himself intended for comedic purposes. Sean is a copy editor at The Aspen Times. Email at


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