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“I bought my wife a new car. She called me and said there was water in the carburetor. I said: ‘Where’s the car?’ She said: ‘In the lake.’”— Henny Youngman

I’ve been blessed with an abundance of eclectic friends. They range from captains of industry to cowboys, lost souls to belly dancers. If I sat down and made a list, certainly at the top of that list would be Hank and Amy.

They’ve been friends of mine for 50 years. I suppose technically you’d call them senior citizens, but except for their technical age, that demographic would find it impossible to find a place to land.

They’re both about a decade my senior. As a little girl, Amy lived in a Japanese determent camp during World War II. Hank is the rarest of individuals — a wealthy artist. He is a tall, lanky athletic fellow. With his salt and pepper beard, short-cropped hair and S.W.A.T. team leader gaze, Henry looks he is the disinterested leader of an outlaw motorcycle gang. At nearly 65, he still drives a custom Harley. On the gas tank is a painted rendition of a volcano leading to hell with bats flying out.

Bat out of hell. That’s my boy Hank.

Amy Bob — we affectionately add the handle of “Bob” to one anothers names because of our rural roots — looks like a retired Japanese school teacher. She’s an artist, too. She sometimes carries a .357 Magnum. They live a couple of blocks away from one another off Wilshire and after a couple of break-ins each, decided it was time to pack heat.

Hank called me the other day and wanted to know if I would be going to the Auto Show at the L.A. Convention Center in January. If so, could he go with me. The three of us only catch up for a Thai dinner two or three times a year and none of us likes doing the math. At that rate, at our ages, you start working in remaining dinner dates numbering in the few dozens.

“Amy and I both put deposits down on a couple of Aston Martins,” Hank confessed over the phone. “I thought maybe we should sit in them before we actually buy them.”

Cripes. Aston Martin. The James Bond car. Cripes.

I am so happy how the fiscal life has treated those two. They both have worked their creative tails off over the years and now have some embarrassing fortunes just sitting there, collecting interest. Every once in a while, the two friends who live in stately abodes need to buy something.

Earlier this year, they went into partnership on a turbocharged Mini Cooper. They’re getting matching green Aston Martins delivered and I can’t even imagine that. Two 400-horsepower sports cars, sticker price a quarter million — each — and they haven’t even taken one out for a test drive.

Hank’s biggest dilemma, besides whether at 6-foot-6 he’d fit into an Aston Martin is whether or not he should get rid of his Porsche. Like the Carrera, or the Harley, there won’t be any consideration about anything as gentile as budgets or mortgage rates going up. My friend will just pull out the tattered vinyl recorder from his back pocket and write a personal check. So will Amy Bob.

We’ll celebrate when the cars come in. We’ll hit some upscale cruel and unusual restaurant in Beverly Hills where there are no prices on the menu and the owner down to the busboy knows them both. I can already smell the English leather and I’m sure I’ll even get to drive one of the cars up and down Santa Monica Boulevard. If I ever go to another prom, I’d bet either one would be more than happy to lend me the keys for the evening.

On the other end of the fiscal spectrum, I have still have good friends who live hand-to-mouth, where each month’s rent depends on the grace of a temporary job falling from the heavens. I know there are those months that come along where I have to write, in pencil, in very tiny printing, the date the bills are due on the outside of the envelope and hold off on mailing them four days prior.

And Hank and Amy are going to mosey down to the dealership when the exotic sports cars come in and together, cut two checks totaling over a half-million bucks.

For a couple of cars.

Once, I bought a 1956 Mercury convertible with fake leopard skin interior for $125. Ran like a top.

The whole episode makes me smile, on so many levels. Hank and Amy are both great people and deserve every revved rpm, envious glance and moonlight drive up the coast.

This may seem presumptuous from a person of my socio-economic ranking, but matching Aston Martins?

You’d think one would get a fire engine red Ferrari and the other a saddle brown turbo Bentley so they could trade.

 

(SCV author John Boston also writes The Time Ranger & SCV History for your SCV Beacon. He’s has earned more than 100 major awards for writing, including being named, several times, America’s best humor, and, best serious columnist. Don’t forget to check out his national humor, entertainment & swashbuckling commentary website, America’s Humorist — http://www.johnbostonchronicles.com/) — © 2017 by John Boston. All rights reserved.

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