I was wandering through the Internet the other day when I ran across the Audi TTS Roadster. Now, it is not actually a roadster but a convertible sports car. For those of you of a time and with the inclination to remember, a roadster had no top and no side windows. It was open to the elements and you had to use the same protocol when driving one as you do when riding a motorcycle. Technically, the TTS comes only as a drop-head coupe (what we Americans call a convertible) and a fixed-head coupe (a hardtop). Frankly, the hardtop version looks kind of goofy, so the convertible is the only one you’d really want. But, I wouldn’t want it because I’ve owned a convertible. Once upon a time, the wonderful Triumph Motor Company of Great Britain took all the ugly left over from when they designed their outstandingly beautiful TR4 sports car and their amazingly beautiful TR6 sports car and their “You’ve Got To See This To Believe It” beautiful TR7 sports car, and rolled that ugly into a ball, shaped it into something roughly resembling a shoebox someone had stepped on, and called it the Triumph Herald. I owned a convertible Triumph Herald in the early 1970’s and from it I learned that, as much fun as you can have with the top down (sweat like a pig at every stoplight with no air-conditioning, getting pooped on by birds, and being burnt to a crisp all over), convertibles have serious security issues. You can’t lock the doors — if the top is down, it’s useless and if the top is up and someone wants in, they’ll simply cut the top. You get robbed and vandalized all in one go. If you want to keep your stuff, you have to fit it into the lockable glove compartment or the lockable trunk (each approximately the same size as the other in any sports car, even an ugly one) or leave it home entirely. No, no, I’d never have another convertible so the TTS is definitely not the car for me.
Then there’s the price. It’s an Audi, which is German for “must have an income equal to a small, third world, nation’s GNP to afford one.” Seriously, outfitted as you would simply have to have it done in order for it to look right, it would be a choice between buying one of these cars or paying off the national debt of Bolivia. This is just not the car for me. But, the people over at Audi know their potential customers. You see (and this is nothing but a marketing ploy) straight from the factory, the car can do 155miles per hour. However, for another $1,000 dollars, they will take off the factory installed inhibitor and the car will then do 175miles an hour. That pack of Nazi holdovers will remove, for $1,000, the inhibitor that they installed in the first place so that the car, which you paid the fuel bill of a battleship to own, will now go twenty miles an hour faster than you are probably ever going to drive it anyway. Isn’t that blackmail or something? It’s the principle of the thing — they are holding your top speed hostage and that just burns my cork.
Here is the thing — even though 155mph is faster than I’ve ever gone in any ground vehicle and I know I’d never push the car up to 155mph, let alone 175mph (if I had one and, of course, I certainly never will), but I have to admit to myself that if I somehow acquired enough money to buy one (which I will not do because I do not want one), I just know that I would scrounge up the extra $1,000 to have the inhibitor removed. Men, be honest, how many of you would do the same? If you would, raise your hand right now, wherever you are. You don’t have to tell anyone what you’re doing or why, just raise your hand and put it back down — the vote will count. I won’t be the only guy who raises his hand. There may even be some girls who would raise theirs. My question, and the reason I’ve told you all of this, is “WHY, God?” “Why am I rigged like this?” We, as humans, seem to be hardwired to be driven to acquire things we don’t need or, in fact, really even want. It doesn’t even seem to be a part of our Old Sin Nature. Demanding the right to pay $50 per mile an hour that you are never going to use seems to be more pathetic or stupid than actually sinful. Truth tell, that whole story about the inhibitor could be made up — Audi could be collecting $1,000 for doing nothing at all and snickering all the way to the bank — how many without access to German autobahns are really ever going to find out? We could be the victims of a terrible hoax. But, we’ll still plunk down our $1,000. Audi figured that much out.
We are often the cause of much of our own pain. Instead of putting our trust in Jesus, we often do try to rely on our own understanding, even when all we’re trying to do is understand ourselves, as if that would make it easier. We’re told not to do that in the Bible. We do it anyway and make ourselves miserable in ways God never intended. We really don’t need to be able to go 175mph, but we can misuse the wonderful brains that God gave us to make ourselves think we do. Sometimes, our society helps to develop such feelings and attitudes, but in the end, it is we ourselves who must accept those attitudes and feelings as our own. God gives us the choice and is saddened when we choose something that will hurt us, just as anyone who loves us would be. But, He doesn’t use that as an excuse to take away our freedom of choice. This is why I think He smiles to hear that I’ve totally renounced any idea of ever purchasing an Audi TTS, because really, I just don’t want one.
~ Kurt Hendrix