Yesterday, I was over helping Grandpaw clean out his basement. For some reason, he had lots of pieces of copper tubing, sheets of flat copper, and some items which I couldn’t identify. There were also quite a few gallon jugs as well, but I didn’t ask why. There are some things southern men don’t comment on or ask about. It seemed to be one of those times when it would be prudent to keep my curiosity to myself.
In the corner of his basement was a large lump, covered by an old army canvas tarp. I asked Grandpaw if he needed to take it out, and he just looked at me for a moment. “Come over here, boy, and let me show you something.”
Grandpaw yanked the tarp off, with a customary flourish, and said “Ta Da!”
“What in tarnation is this thing, Grandpaw? Looks mighty fancy to be a whiskey still.”
“Whiskey still? Are you kidding, boy? Son, this here is a time machine!”
Suddenly I could recognize Grandpaw’s true genius. “Let me in, I said. Let’s go, say 8, 10 years into the future.”
“Come on in, boy. Let’s git ‘er up.”
I blacked out after that. I couldn’t find the reason, but suddenly I found documents in my hand.
“Rule Changes for NASCAR’s Top Series 2025” What the heck, I’ll read them.” I thought.
“Rule 1A1: All cars shall be powered by stored batteries, or by solar power.
Rule 1A2: No drivers shall inhabit cars. Drivers will be present only to represent cars, not to drive them. Any driver found inside a car shall be banished from the sport. All cars shall be piloted by Google autonomous technology, which makes having an actual driver redundant.
Rule 1A3: Stages shall be set at 10 laps per race. Such repairs as should occur shall occur during this 20 minute caution, so that all team members may be able to avail themselves of the bathroom facilities, as their sex or inclination should dictate.
Rule 1A4: Fossil fuels shall not be allowed inside the race track at any time.
Rule 1A5: Maximum speed on the race track shall be 55 miles per hour. There shall be no exceptions
Rule 1A6: In the next year, slots shall be carved into all sanctioned tracks, so as to insure that no cars may collide with each other. Safety is the name of the game.
Rule 1A7: Facial hair shall not be worn at any time during racing events. This rule includes all crew members, including ‘drivers,’ crew, and fans. No exceptions shall be tolerated. The sanctioning body expects shiny, clean fans.
Rule 1A8: Members of the press shall say nothing derogatory of this sanctioning body at any time, or the offending member shall be banished from the track, and all tracks, pending further litigation, which may include penalties ranging from one year solitary confinement up to life imprisonment. This sanctioning body shall tolerate no ‘bad press’ from anyone at all.”
Grandpaw’s machine packed a powerful punch. I woke up in my own bed this morning, feeling like I had just ridden up San Juan Hill with Grandpaw, as he claimed to have done with Teddy Roosevelt. Idly thinking that if that were true, Grandpaw must be the oldest redneck still alive, I thought about what I had seen in my dream. Or was it a dream?
If the sanctioning body wants to convert stock car racing into a glorified game of slot cars, who’s going to stop them? Am I now one of the few outlaw reporters who will tell the truth? Am I just living a bad dream?
You tell me.