Jeff walks me around his car, his hands tucked in his pockets, examining the vehicle with a detached vigilance, searching for the source of his troubles. He ducks his head under the open hood of his new mid-sized sedan. "I think the smell is coming from in here."
I sniff again. "No, that smells like your brake pads…also, your wheels are smoking."
Jeff hurries to my side as I duck down next to the wheel well. "Bill, I literally just got it back from the dealership 20 minutes ago! This is un-fucking-believable. Come with me, you can talk to them; I hate talking to these people. They look at my face and they know I don't know shit. I can hear them getting boners when I walk in the door. ‘Here comes that med school rich boy, let's fuck him in the ass.' I don't want to get fucked in the ass, not again, not by these dealership fuckers."
"Jeff, don't ever take your car to a dealership to get repaired, they eat their young, especially for fucking brake pads."
"Well it's a warranty thing, come on and we'll get lunch at Manny's!"
I pop up from my stooped position. "You're too generous, Doctor, and by too generous I mean, you're paying."
We climb into the car and he puts it in drive and accelerates. "Do you hear that noise? It wasn't like that yesterday, I can't—"
You could cut my arm off and reattach it to my face but you can't change your fucking windshield washer fluid. "Biff, are you kidding me?"
Jeff glances over at me. "What?"
I reach my hand between the seats and put down the emergency brake. "You are a fucking man child, you know that?"
Jeff sighs. "Oh man…I'm an asshole…I think we should still take it back though, right?"
I rub my face. "We should take you back. I can't believe you drove all the way from Schaumburg with your emergency brake on."
"I never learned this stuff, I've been studying my ass off since I was 12 years old, to get into college then med school. I'm sorry I didn't have time to rebuild an El Camino with my old man. I didn't grow up in a sitcom, Bill. This stuff just…I don't know, it's not on my radar."
I nod in understanding. "I know that, man. It's not your fault, really. It's just, I don't know, it's like there is this whole generation of our peers who got bachelor degrees, then master degrees, then internships, and they are entering the workforce at 27 without working a day in their lives. All these compartmentalized humans who could engineer software to recreate the big bang but have never cooked anything without a microwave. You could cut my arm off and reattach it to my face but you can't change your fucking windshield washer fluid. That's just this unsettling precedent I didn't anticipate in 2010."
Jeff makes a left hand turn onto Roosevelt Blvd, away from the dealership and towards Manny's. "So the indictment is, that because I wanted to excel in my career, I am incomplete?"
"Yeah…well no, I said everyone our age is incomplete, I guess."
"What, and you're Pacino over here, Mr. Renaissance Man? ‘Charlie! Who ahh!'"
"You're thinking of Scent of a Woman, dumby."
Jeff smiles. "Damn you're right, I don't even know movies…but Pacino's performance in Ghostbusters 2 was extraordinary. I'm surprised the Academy overlooked him that year."
"Hahaha, he was the Vigo painting, right?"
"Come on, Bill. No, he played Rick Moranis playing Louis Tully. Anyway, I just don't know if being specialized is such a terrible thing. There is an argument to be made that it's better to have several experts working together as opposed to several generalists."
"Yeah maybe, I get what you're saying and I mean, I can do a few things. I just can't seem to do any one thing exceptionally well, but that's because I'm not a super bright guy. But what I lack in IQ, I make up for in furious pomposity and condescension to people far more successful…it's a gift. I guess I'm saying if Leonardo Da Vinci was born in 1983 he'd probably have a master's degree in Information Technologies, interning at Wells Fargo reinstalling Windows Vista for some administrative assistant who only knows how to check emails and forward calls because that's what they're ‘specialized' in."
Jeff pulls into the parking lot behind Manny's when his check engine light turns on. "Ahh fuck me, you're right. Where is Rick Moranis when you need him."
"Who ahh!" we scream.