“Never buy anything, never sell anything…”

When Peggy and I moved back to SoCal from our single year of self-exile in the Seventh Level Of Hell called “Phoenix”, I of course had to get my (then) 12 year old SUV smog-tested/re-certified again here in SoCal; I went to my “usual place” from years past. They’ve always been a bit “lenient” when I’ve had a “borderline vehicle” (which I usually DO, since I drive old shite); this time I had to wait a bit due to the now ONEROUS process that smogging a vehicle in SoCal has become.

This was my first time of not being able to “hang” with the mechanics in the back while they’re doing their thing; as a guy that’s been wrenching on his own vehicles since I took apart my first tricycle, I like being able to get some face-time w/the wrench-twisters. The owner, a late 60-something ex-World famous surfer dude, is your typical automotive shop owner — he’s pretty much seen it all, heard it all, done it all, and FORGOTTEN most of it all; in other words, he’s a crusty old curmudgeon.

I told a couple jokes that brought a seldom-summoned smile to his face, and then I turned the conversation to a particularly “painful” vehicle sales transaction that I had just consummated of a 2004 Jeep Wrangler that I sold before we left Phoenix. I described how the buyer took advantage of my good graces by making me “hold” the vehicle for him “for two weeks” while he raised up the funds to finish paying for it; those two weeks turned into TWELVE WEEKS, forcing me to put the vehicle in temporary storage for three months (and $300 out of MY pocket), then drive 5.5 hours BACK to Phoenix from SoCal to get the thing OUT of storage, go to DMV with him, then sweep out the storage unit to get my deposit $ back, spend the night in a hotel, then drive the 5.5 hours BACK to SoCal; in other words, an extra $600 off MY hip — Grrrr!! He listened to my tale of woe, then looked me dead in the eye and said — “Never buy anything, never sell anything…”

At the time, I shrugged it off as just the words of another “old curmudgeon”, but I (obviously) never forgot his prophetic words. Did I say “prophetic”? Yeah, I did; now YOU look ME dead in the eye and tell me I’m WRONG!

Since the day he uttered those words, Peggy and I have bought two homes here in SoCal, and are trying to sell one of those homes right now; I’ve also bought and sold a classic muscle car.

The house purchases involved a fucking UNBELIEVABLE amount of paperwork — I’m talking ~4 inches of paperwork on each one; I’m not kidding! The second home fell out of escrow THREE TIMES before we bought it — I won’t get into the lurid details, but unless & until you try to buy or sell a house here in SoCal, you can not EVEN imagine what’s involved; most of this paperwork is couched under the guise of being “for the buyer’s protection” — read: “For the protection of the bank accounts of the attorneys that dreamed UP this paperwork” and somehow convinced the parties-that-be that it was a good idear to “protect” those morons (that *I* refer to as “The Genital Public”) who buy shit without reading what they’re signing.

And the car deal? A friend of mine w/more $ than I’ve SPENT in my entire 58.5 years here on this Ball O’ Shite verbally “committed” to the car six months ago, but he “had to sell two of HIS collector cars FIRST”. Meanwhile, this “verbal commitment” (with not ONE dollar’s worth of a fiduciary commitment) kept me ham-strung from selling it to anyone ELSE.

Finally, after my 152nd request to “Nut up or shut up”, I took it on my own to list it on FleaBay; now the REAL fun began!

“I’ll give you (insert ridiculously low $ offer here) in CASH for your car!” My response: “Yeah, that sounds good; now when can you give me the REST?!”

Or: “I’ll give you (insert even MORE ridiculously low $ amount here) and my 1958 Edsel that my mother committed suicide in by sitting in it in the garage with the motor running; the urine stains are ALMOST gone!”

If I had a buffalo nickel for every one of those two types of “offers” that I received, I could have pushed the car into the Pacific and pocketed my asking price in nickels! Finally, I got what APPEARED to be a not-too-horrible offer for the car, albeit from a buyer in another country — my “drop dead dollar amount” payable in 10 days, then the shipper to pick the car up in another 10 days; I took the car off FleaBay.

TEN DAYS LATER, after hearing NOTHING from the “buyer”, I get a bank draught (see what I did there?) for TWO THIRDS of the agreed-upon amount, and a promise to pay the balance in ONE WEEK. I deposit the cheque (see what I did there?) and it MIRACULOUSLY doesn’t bounce…

You ALREADY see where this is going, doncha? Here it is, exactly THIRTY DAYS later, and I’m still sitting here w/my dick in my watch pocket, waiting for the other 1/3; meanwhile, I’m STORING the car at MY expense, I’m continuing to insure the car at MY expense, and I’m sitting here with a chit from the Post Office that I have SOMETHING from the “buyer” sitting at the Post Office waiting for me to pick up TOMORROW (since today is a mail holiday).

Is it for the full amount? MAY-be. How long before the transport company picks it up? Lemme consult my Magic 8 Ball; answer: “Better keep your cock in your watch pocket, Dick” (I got the New Jersey version of the Magic 8 Ball).

In retrospect, I just should have had a “fire” and collected the insurance money on the car — “Geez Dick — sorry to hear about your car fire!” “Sssshhhh; that’s NEXT week!”…

“Never buy anything, never sell anything” — Hmmmm; maybe that burnt-out old surfer dude was right. But wait — dere’s MORE!

Remember my buddy — the one that had to sell HIS two collector cars before he bought mine? Well, the hits just keep on COMING, Boys & Girls! He shipped both cars at HIS expense to a friend of his in Michigan who verbally committed to them, complete w/signed titles.

Understand — his “friend” was a guy that used to WORK for him, O.K.? That dude has received the cars, put them up for sale on HIS collector car website as being in HIS inventory (not “on consignment”), and my buddy hasn’t gotten ONE RED CENT! So now HE is going through the legal process of trying to either get paid, or get his cars/titles back. “Never buy anything, never sell anything” — convinced yet?

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