July 22, 1999 Blackened Scout
Thursday July 22, 1999 - 10:32:35 PM

Have you ever painted a car? I have. Have you ever painted a car outside by the glow of a streetlight? I have!

Tuesday before last when I got home Ruth and Isaiah were out shopping with Ruth's aunt Ruth (we call her Aunt). I decided it would be a perfect time to get a little paint-prep work done on my '79 Scout. The weekend before I had spent about $30 on a roll of masking tape, some lacquer thinner, and five cans of flat black spray paint. I figured while the wife and boy were out shopping I could at least get some of the chrome masked off and if nothing else it could sit like that waiting for the next chance I might get to spend some time on it.

Fortunately, the chance came sooner than expected. As I had been masking I had also been calling Aunt's house every twenty minutes or so. Finally Ruth answered and suggested I bring Kroger over in the Scout and after we all had dinner together, I could continue work on the Scout there. Kroger wasn't crazy about the Scout at first until she realized she could stretch out and lay down among the junk in the back. Then she was doing fine- that is until I hit a big bump and the noise all that aforementioned junk made clattering back to the floor had Kroger trying to climb into my lap. She finally satisfied herself by sitting in the passenger seat, but was still a little nervous since her car seat surfing skills have been honed in a regular passenger car instead of a rough and high riding truck with no armrests on the seats.

She made the ride alright, though and was pleased to see "Mommy" when we got to Aunt's house. She was also pleased to see the pizza which had only just been delivered and was still hot. It was getting to be about 7 o'clock by this time and I wanted to get back to work on my project. Luckily Aunt had plenty of old newspaper for all the windows.

You know, when you look at a car, you rarely think in terms of its surface area. It took a lot longer to finish masking it all than I had expected. It also took longer to wash it down with lacquer thinner to clean it and make the old surface take a new coat better. By the time I was cracking open the first paint can, the sun was going down!

One of the traits that I love about my wife is that, just like me, she is frequently very childlike. Before the masking was completed I had been asked: "I get to paint some, too, don't I?". I assented conditionally- I would show her proper spraying technique and she would be careful.

As the last rays of the sun shook hands with the tender light of the moon, the sound of pressurized gas escaping from small containers filled the air. I had told Ruth not to get too heavy with the paint to prevent runs and to try to get an even coat. She was very conscientious and did a good job. I, the giver of directions and admonitions, simply sprayed away in the darkness. (And yes, when, in the light of day, the time came to do so, I honestly admitted to her that she had done a better job than I had.

Four cans of paint, two hours, and four numb index fingers later the Scout was painted. I knew the job wasn't going to look professional, (it was night, remember? I wouldn't learn how it truly looked until the next morning) but I was satisfied that it was done. The only finishing touch was to affix to the tall, unused CB antenna a 9" x 12" Jolly Roger flag that Aunt had found for me at a party supply store for just this purpose.

In the process of affixing this flag (in my driveway at 10:30 PM in, again, the darkness) I inadvertently discovered the one thing that is invulnerable to super-glue... You guessed it- the flag I was trying to stick to the antenna. However, Ruth had some clear packing tape around the place that worked well.

The next morning I discovered that the Scout didn't look as much like it had been painted as driven through a huge fire. More as if it had been blackened like a cajun catfish than anything else. I was thrilled! I am delighted by the burned-up appearance. My sensibilities regarding such things are, I've been told, rather counter to the mainstream. "Would you like a shiny, sparkling, deep black you can see your reflection in, Roger?" "No way, Man! Make it look horrible- like it survived an explosion! Yeah!" The best part, however, was that brilliant flag flapping proudly in the breeze as I sailed down the highway. I've seen plenty of bumper stickers in my time, some funny, some not, but nothing compares to flying the ol' Skull and Crossbones.

Avast, Landlubbers, clear the way for the Blackened Scout!

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