“Hey, Murph, have you seen it?” Kevin asked jumping into the car, his shirt soaked in sweat and dirt by hours on the football field. I unconsciously open the windows, allowing his not-so-fresh scent some other means of escape than through my lungs. His friend Joe dives into the back seat. His gear is tossed atop Kevin’s clothes in the trunk, across the back seat or along the dashboard until I vociferously advise my brother to return his socks to his feet. Once buckled and stowed, we bounce across the dirt parking lot and speed off onto the highway.
“What’s up?” I finally reply. “Something you learned at school?”
“Huh? No, ‘course not.” Clearly a stupid question. “I saw a hippo eat a midget today.”
“Wha . . .?”
“It’s a Youtube video,” Joe explains.
“No, on Youtube.”
“Yeah,” Kevin continues excitedly, “this midget is jumping up and down on this trampoline when . . . whoosh! He flies off into the hippo’s mouth and dies.”
“Oh, um, wow!” Excitement and concern play on my voice. Confusion too. What exactly do they allow on Youtube nowadays?
“The hippo swallowed him,” Joe adds. “The midget can’t breathe apparently and suffocates.”
“Oh . . . well, I’m sorry for the . . . small man.”
“Don’t be,” Joe smiles. “It was pretty funny. And I’m not sure about the dying part. Edgerson told Frank that in another video, not the one we saw but in another one they show the body, but I couldn’t find it. So I don’t know.”
“ ‘Course he died. Because hippos are mean, right?” Kevin asks. “That’s why they couldn’t get to him quick enough, right? ‘Cause they’ll kill ya more so than lions.”
“Well,” I begin, still rather confused. “They are quite territorial. Tourists and hunters have much more to fear from hippo attacks than elephants or lions. In the water, they’ll rip you to shreds. But they’re not anacondas, they don’t normally . . .”
“Just like the Ford F150, right? It’s like the hippo. All other car companies can’t handle it and die.”
“Uh . . .”
Kevin routinely descends every so often into a diatribe against most of the major players in the auto industry with the minor exception Ford, which he idolizes. Seriously the company can do no wrong.
“I mean, through hard work and creativity, they made the 1967 Ford Mustang GT 500, greatest automobile the Earth has ever known. And will ever know. Ford is awesome.”
When asked why, the short answer is because all other cars suck. If you foolishly decided to dig deeper, you will come to understand that American cars are superior to European and Japanese motors; that other countries stole our internal combustion engine and thus deserve death for their treachery; that the popularity of Japanese motors can be attributed to the increasing populations of stupid hippies; that despite it also being American made, Chevy cannot compete with Ford on any level.
“They try. Again and again, they try,” Kevin reminds me finishing the last of my iced tea. “But in the end, they fail. Simple as that.”
“Okay but don’t you think Kev that . . .” My attempt at interjection.
“It’s like that Toyota commericial. They’re so full of crap. Oh yeah, we can drop a Toyota from a building and it will still work. We’re so great, but we’re in pieces. Ha, the Ford could do that and still haul a load of bricks to . . . to New York. Stupid foreign cars. And you know what . . .”
“What if it’s a really tall building?” I interrupt.
“Like the Empire State Buildilng. What if we drop it from there? I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be able to haul brick anymore . . .”
“The Ford could take it,” Kev replies confidently. “Definitely. It could take on the Loch Ness Monster . . .”
“From the commercial,” Joe whispers from the back seat. “The Loc Ness monster grabs the car, sucks it underwater, and spits it back out. It drives away undamaged.”
“Oh yeah . . . Without even any kelp on it too.”
“That’s how great Ford is. If it can take that, it can take anything. No foreign piece o’crap can do that. It would . . .”
“What if we drop it from the Empire State Building onto a trampoline and into a hippo’s mouth? Would it survive that Kev?”
“Okay, just shut up.”
“Those hippo’s are mean. I don’t think it could survive that dude.”
“Shut up,” he said reaching for the volume dial. Blink 182’s monotonous guitar riffs burst onto the radio. I chuckle to myself the rest of the way home.