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The Beast

We call it The
Beast.  It is black, solid, shiny and
very, very large.  It is sitting in my
driveway like a mysterious alien vessel from another planet. 

The Beast is what
my ecology-minded friends disparage as a Chelsea
tractor: a top-of-the-line, full-fat, supercharged Range Rover Vogue, complete
with back-seat entertainment and a dozen more quite useless accroutements. 

We now own
it.  We must be mad.  Some would say we are not merely mad but
irresponsible.  They would be right.  The Beast guzzles gas like a drunk on a

It is true that we
have only exchanged a battered eighteen-year old Range Rover for a fresh one
(it is used, not new, with one obviously very careful careful owner) but we
have blithely ignored the opportunity, at a time of rising energy prices and
amid concerns about our carbon footprint, to trade down to a something of more
modest proportions.

Shame on us, I
hear you say, and you are right.  And I
do feel guilty.  I do, I do.

But what can you
do when your wife, on the test drive, yells “Yippee!” when the salesman says
“Let her rip” and the beast leaps forward like a panther.  Only a man with a heart of stone could remain
unmoved.   And when my turn came to take
the wheel, I must confess that I felt the same adrenaline rush of exhilaration
as hers.

Yes, I know,
we’re a childish disgrace. 

So here’s the
deal.  We’ll keep The Beast for a couple
of years and then serve our penance, for the rest of our days, with a Smart Car,
or perhaps an electric hybrid.

In the meantime,
while we can, please, please let us have some fun.


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