The Lighter Side of Owning a Ferrari


Loosing It    by john babos


I‘ll never forget where I lost it first. The location was a small dark building tucked into an unused mall in rural America and visited by the local folks, but only when necessary .  As I walked in and took my place with other men waiting discreetly in the shadows, I became aware of the woman I would eventually be meeting. She was much older than I and in obvious command of the operation.  It was natural then that when my turn came I followed her orders to approach and provide payment. She directed me into a dimly lit vestibule and told me to position my face in a machine that looked  like an old View Graph Projector.  As my eyes tried to adjust, I could only perceive a gray toned blur.  As I listened to the directions of the woman, I just couldn’t read line 6, or 5, let alone 4.  In fact that’s being generous, I couldn’t even see line 6, or 5 let alone 4. Then the older woman asked, “Sir, do you wear glasses? Sir, should you be wearing glasses?” It suddenly hit me. It slapped me in the face and stomped on my fragile ego. I had lost it; my youthful eyesight. And of all the places, I discovered that at the drivers license bureau. All of those jokes I made of people who wore glasses had now come back to haunt me.  I have joined the ranks of  “old four eyes.” The great 20/10 eyesight that got me through high school and college ranked Thi Beta Zerox had abandoned me.


In retrospect I might have guessed something was wrong when Crystal and I would go to the movies and I would ask the management to adjust the focus of the projector.  There were pages in phone books that I thought were smeared which I attributed to poor quality control. There were also instances that I misread the airport monitors and boarded the wrong flight which I attributed to normal airline operations.  As I now know it was all because my perfect vision deserted me over time and I wasn’t astute enough to recognize it.


My last opportunity for alerting me that my eyes might be failing was at my previous driver’s license renewal. I breezed through that eye test because in a bizarre sort of way,  I didn’t have to take the eye test.  On that occasion there were about 30 people in front of me as I waited to take the eye test.  Each person was asked to read line 6, and all of us in line heard: “P  Q  R  S  U  W.”  Time and time again as the line moved me closer I heard someone read out the letters, “P Q R S U W.”  It wasn’t until the gentleman in front of me staggered, “ Huh…is it an R?  How about a P and O and a B, yeah a B and ….ah….a  D?  Needless to say he failed.  I still don’t know how after hearing the same song over and over again, “P  Q  R  S  U  W”  he missed, but he did. 


On my recent return, there wasn’t anybody in line waiting to take the eye test, just people wanting to obtain new Colorado Identification Cards. So now it was just the older woman and me as I strained every fiber of my eye muscles to focus on line 6.  I decided to try Extra Sensory Perception, a.k.a. ESP.  I never believed in any of that mumbo jumbo but I was desperate. So I asked,  “ Huh…is it an R?  How about a P and O and a B, yeah a B and ….ah….a  D?”  So I failed and had to get glasses. The glasses that the insurance company’s issue that look like the ones Clark Kent wears, the nerdy type that come with tape on the bridge.


You might be wondering: what does any of this have to do with Ferraris? Well, let me tell you.  A whole new world has opened up to me now that my vision is corrected. For example my off color Ferrari has always made it easy for me to find my car at one of our events.  With all of the red Ferraris  I was amazed how people were able to discern their Ferraris from others. Now that I can see, I realize that there are some incredible differences between the models.  I can also now see the subtle differences between a F 40 and a  Dino 246 GTS.  In fact one of them has a wing on the back, I forget which. And for the first time I can see that there is another bank of cylinders on transverse mounted motors.  All of  this will really help my judging ability in future Ferrari car shows. Not only will I be able to see the differences between the models but I expect to discover a bounty of coins under the seats and consoles that were previously invisible to me. So when it’s all said and done, failing my eye test was probably fortuitous. I wear some really retro glasses which Crystal thinks makes me look distinguished ( I still sleep in the garage however), and at least now I won’t be jumping into Bill Orth’s 328 and trying to drive it away.





john babos