John Boston | Making Monthly Payments on a $150,000 SUV

John Boston

Unfortunately, if you live long enough, life has a way of coming back full circle and biting you on your fetching little bottom. Clearly, I recall a loop. Barely 20 and in race horse shape, I was in a pickup basketball game at the old Hart High Indian gym. Some poor 35-something weekend warrior was on the enemy squad of our full-court game. Three laps in, the dear, aging-gracefully chap is sucking canal water. He hasn’t run 500 feet and his aorta is on the outside of his sweat-drenched T-shirt, with each slap in the face screaming, “ARE? YOU? TRYING? TO? KILL? ME?!?!?!?!” 

In a blink, I’m 39, playing full court at Hart. Some kid was giving me That Look, damning, silent and judgmental, asking, “Why are you here with us young, virile stags, attempting to leap but failing miserably?” Life’s Wretched Clock. Weekend Warrior first, then, two decades later, me, both too proud to quit. We both finished, then limped out of the gym, each to find a shady tree under which to make our transition. 

I loved running errands with my dad. He was in his 80s, still AARP Magazine cover-pops healthy and handsome. I erred in taking El Padre into Starbucks with me one morning. Big. Fat. Huge. Mistake. I ordered one of my sissy coffee drinks with the patented Teddy bear foam face atop. Dad glanced at the menu overhead, gasped, pulled me aside and whispered: “MY GOD SON!!! Did you see these prices? Let’s go back to the ranch, I’ll make you a cup of coffee and I’ll only charge you a nickel.” 

I’ll never forget that smile of his, how lucky I was to know him. 

To my horror, just approaching middle age, and I’m pulling that elder statesman by-cracky crap, gasping how expensive everything is. 

Take Broncos. 

I don’t mean the feral horses. I mean the really cool 4×4 SUV. While I wasn’t paying attention, trucks cost up-and-over 150,000. That’s dollars. Not pesos, amigos. Years ago? I owned a Bronco. In 1980, brand new, it cost me about $9,000 and that was with options (glove compartment, gas cap, “fragrant-ized  air in all four tires!”). For an extra $700, the dealershipo unsuccessfully tried to sneak in an oil depletion allowance. 

Granted. This 2025 150-G’s SUV was the Oil Fiefdom Sheik package. If I were to hold up a series of savings and loan branches, I still couldn’t afford the down payment. You’d hope for that kind of money, it came with at least two live-in stewardesses in skimpy cowgirl uniforms who would greet me with Crest Whitening Strip smiles and a, “Hi, Honey y’all!!” in cheery harmony when I opened the driver’s side door. 

For the cost of six homes in Detroit, I could scrimp and just purchase the base, demitasse Bronco Sport entry-level model. Sure. Uh-huh. And be waiting at a red light and some guy 1/10th my age in tattoos and full head of hair pulls up in the full-size $150,000 Death Dinosaur Raptor model, revs his engine. I shrink down as he and his stewardesses guffaw at me. 

Oh, sighs and heavens. My dad told me about being young. Before the war, he’d buy cars for $5. Running cars for $5. When I was in college, I was co-editor of the campus satire magazine, Amalgamated Buffalo Chips, with my best pal, Phil. Phil showed up at my bedside one Saturday morning to announce he had drained our magazine business bank account to purchase a 1956 Mercury convertible, with leopard-skin interior, for $125. He also bought a 1938 panel truck for $35 that morning. When I was an imbecilic 21, taking a loss, I sold a perfectly functioning baby blue Ford Falcon to buy a racing Alfa Romeo, painted red, white and blue, with gigantic tires, for the staggering price of $900. God punished me in Old Testament fashion. In an exhibition of speed, I laid rubber in front of Hart High, snapping the rear axle from the chassis. I blame Gordon Ewing. He had just started with the local Sheriff’s Department, and, preemptively, should have taken me aside to warn me of such chimp-like chest-thumping behavior. Some friend. 

Neat thing though? I actually found a 1961 Alfa rear end at a junk yard for $50 and installed it myself. To put in an axle in a car today, you’d have to be a brain scientist AND own a lube rack. 

Who ARE these people, buying $150,000 trucks? I mean, not everybody in the Santa Clarita Valley can be drug lords or work for the teachers’ union.  

I probably computed this wrong. But I went to one of those internet interest/payment calculators. Figuring 10% down, and with the standard 28% interest on my loan, my computer overheated and kicked out this number for my monthly car payment. 

It was $147,530,936,591,220,672.00.  

Not making that up. I didn’t go far enough in school to even know what that number is. I’m guessing? It’s a lot. The payment calculator on my computer winced and coughed computer blood into its hand before mentioning that $129,557,624,519,790,688.00 of that monthly payment would be, just interest. 

I’m guessing some guy in finance is grinning sheepishly and wiping beads of perspiration from his brow at the thought of his cut for filling out the paperwork. If I had that kind of money, I’d spend it toward lowering the national debt. Ha ha. Made myself laugh. Talk about doing something fiscally stupid. 

Sigh. Modern life. 

I don’t know. Perhaps if I want transportation more in my price range, I should just head out to the next Bureau of Land Management bronco sale. They sell wild mustangs starting as low as $25, maybe $50 if you upgrade to the model that won’t tear your throat out with its teeth while you’re being Christian and trying to feed it a carrot. 

John Boston, by cracky, is the most prolific satirist in world history. Yet, for reasons unfathomable, he lives locally. Visit his bookstore, and buy several hundred thousand volumes so he can afford a new SUV.

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