I’ve always heard it was the new car smell that sold so many cars, but the smell was never the thing that got me. I never found joy in shopping for a car. The only thing I loved shopping for was a Jeep.
Back in the 70s when you went to buy a Jeep from a dealer you quickly found that everything was an option. Standard features were a windshield, wipers and a drivers seat. Everything else was an option. Yes, that meant that passenger seats and a roof were options.
The idea of a Jeep appealed to me for years. Living in New Jersey where there were still some back country roads, and where snow was a frequent driving hazard in the winter, a Jeep just made sense to me. I wasn’t concerned with the rough ride. I wasn’t concerned with the lack of amenities that came with normal cars. I had no concern for the total utilitarian aspect of the vehicle. To me it was a cool toy and I wanted one.
I did finally get one in 1976. It was plagued with mechanical trouble. I became pretty good at fixing it because I couldn’t afford the constant repair bills that this Jeep was dealing me.
There was something that really got to me, and it took me a while to figure it out. I did a lot of summer driving in the Jeep. Summers are warm and muggy on the east coast. I’d mostly wear running shorts all summer long. I’d take the doors off and it would always be a cool drive. However after long drives I would be in pain, but I never put two and two together. The shape of the seat was odd, not like how the present automobile seat cradles you. These seats fit your butt (yes I had one back then) but your legs rose above the seat…hard to explain.
Anyway I understood the source of the problem after a ten-hour drive to Canada. I was wearing my running shorts, with no support in this bouncy Jeep …for ten hours. When I got to my destination, I hopped out and felt like I had just had taken a knee to my testicles. I was in really bad pain. I couldn’t walk for at least a half hour. Really, really bad pain. I wondered why I hadn’t realized this sooner?
On my way home I choose to sit on a wadded up jacket, and I took frequent driving breaks to assure this would not happen again. It was something I never wanted to feel again.
I kept the Jeep for another year, but was always careful to be supported after that. To this day I am careful and think of the incident every time I get on my lawn mower with its similar seating arrangement. This is a totally avoidable pain and one that is reserved for an after effect of doing something stupid.