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Photocopying Your Bum & Other Mistakes.

I have found that I cannot take my booze so well these days. The other morning, I woke up with a mouth that had all the qualities of an ancient automotive barn find; dry, dusty, a hint of rust and full of lingering memories, few of them good. I only had what I thought was a few whiskies and I have no recollection of the kebab at all.

As we grow and the formative years pass many of us do things we regret later. Sitting on a photocopier and taking a snap of your bare buttocks at the office Christmas bash has always been a popular pastime yet it rarely ends well. Despite all your lame attempts at a cover-up your pic will be leaked faster than a secret Article 50 government policy document. Also, the brother of Janice from Accounts wants a word.

By the time you read this Glastonbury will have finished and, whilst queuing for four hours at A&E you have time to wonder what you thought you were doing rolling around in the mud and which, out of several earth-born diseases, you have contracted. Also the brother of Janice from the wind-catcher tent wants a word.

When the good times roll we lose sight of the lessons life hands out to us like so many slaps in the face. We fall in love with unsuitable persons for various complicated and unlikely reasons then wonder where it all went wrong even as we start the process all over again.

So it is with your personal car choices. Older folk will know that car history is usually a litany of regret. I have owned two Alfa Romeo’s in my time so I know of what I speak. In the early days you buy a car with so much hope. It is what you always wanted. More than just a dream car, in your fragile mind it is a way of life and a route to sex for you – or so you think. But then it all goes Pete Tong and you are left with nothing but an empty bank account, broken hopes and shattered dreams.

Buying an old but exciting TVR is just one example. I can tell you now that most owners are, even as they read this, nodding vigorously and possibly wiping away a bitter tear. Alternatively, take a lesson from those who have joyfully bought a car only to notice the over-spray just as they watched the seller skipping down the road like a spring lamb. Easy choices. Hard lessons. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Some car buyers must have very short memories because they never learn.

The older generation eventually get clued up about this but young people today; well, what can you do? They don’t have a clue about what cars should be about. What lies beneath the bonnet of an automobile is like an arcane mystery to them. They are seduced instead by advertisements promising a better ‘lifestyle’ and something called ‘connectivity’. These are not proper cars. They work reliably. No life lessons here. In this connected world we are more inept than ever.

How can someone learn if they don’t get it wrong? A real car has carburettors, knocks and bangs and groaning differentials. This is what your first car choices should be about. In short, everyone needs at least one and preferably two adorably crap cars in their lives. Sure, they will break down a lot but making mistakes with life and car choices is how we learn. This is how we grow. Geoff Maxted