(Andy is taking the day off. In his absence, we are reprinting a classic column originally published Sept. 16, 1985.)
My car and my body are in about the same shape. Both have quite a few miles on them but they're running well and I haven't had any serious trouble with either. All that's needed is some preventive maintenance.
I don't know which is harder - taking my body to the doctor or my car to the garage. Both worry me. I'm always afraid they'll find something I didn't know about. The only advantage to taking my body to the doctor over taking my car to the garage is that the doctor never asks me to leave it overnight.
It's surprising how many similarities suggest themselves in the treatment of our cars and our bodies.
Most of us are vaguely nervous about catching something else in a hospital or a doctor's office. A car often comes out of the garage with more problems than you knew it had when it went in.
I feel extraordinarily lucky that neither my car or my body seems to suffer from any of the ills you hear so much about on radio and television. I don't have trouble with engine knock, dirty spark plugs or hemorrhoids. This morning on the radio, I heard something like, "More doctors recommend Metamucil." Well, I don't suffer from whatever they say it cures. I feel the same about Metamucil as I do about AAMCO, the transmission specialists. AAMCO says you can go right in and have a transmission fixed without an appointment. It sounds like a good deal, but in 35 years I suppose I've owned 20 cars and I never had any more need to have my transmission overhauled than I've had to take Metamucil.
The other thing that makes me think of cars and bodies at the same time is that insurance companies treat them in many of the same ways. You pay a lot for an appendectomy or a new right front fender, but the insurance company doesn't believe either cost that much so it offers half.
It's hard to get anything fixed, animate or inanimate. We need a new kind of shopping mall where, instead of buying things, we could get things fixed.
The doctors, the dentists, the optometrists, the tailors, the shoemakers, the specialty repair shops of all kinds would be right there together where we could get two or three jobs done at the same time without moving the car.
Write to Andy Rooney at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org