Charlie. My love, my life, my best friend. Charlie is a beautiful 1999 Jeep Cherokee Sport two-door with a 4.0L I-6 engine and manual transmission. His fog lights and rear windshield wiper work according to their own schedule, which I'm not privy to. The passenger side door may or may not allow you open it from within, depending on how Charlie feels about you on a given day. Charlie may or may not start in any given weather condition. He may or may not squeal when running the air conditioner or defroster. In other words, he's the most expensive thing I own by far (other than my mountainous pile of debt) and he's being held together by sheer will alone.
It's easy to see I love this goofy car. I treat him like a child. A step-child, maybe, but still a child! I'm proud of him when he crushes random road debris with reckless abandon or plows through standing water with the greatest of ease. I curse him when certain parts of him refuse to act appropriately during normal driving conditions or when taking him in for an inspection. (Usually he's acting right by the next day.) And I absolutely love it when he beats someone off the line or down a stretch of road. Let's face it, Charlie's not built for speed or grace.
So it was with a heavy heart and a disapproving tone that I watched as Charlie and I got absolutely dusted by a tow truck the other night. The truck was merging onto the highway that Charlie and I were currently cruising on. I had speed and the truck was just gearing up. I figured we had him, no problem. Then the truck matched speed, stayed even, and began to pull away. I jammed down on the accelerator and impotently watched as the V8 (I'm assuming) tow truck pulled away with ease.
Not to be outdone, Charlie and I slowly chugged our way up to about 95mph and eventually caught up with the truck. He apparently did not like to maintain that speed through the turns on the parkway, so we drove away with one small victory. But Charlie's failure and my disappointment got me to thinking.
Your success in life depends on a lot of things, but it comes down to one -- your engine (or your heart for you sappy metaphor lovers.) If you've got yourself a sleek engine, like a finely turned European sports car, chances are you're gonna get where you want to go fast. If you've got a big engine, like Mr. Tow Truck, the odds are good you're gonna be able to haul all that baggage with ease, even if it takes you a little longer to get where you're going. If you've got a small engine, you might struggle with hills, you might get dusted by the big boys on the road, but you'll get where you're going eventually and you'll do it efficiently.
Charlie and I are somewhere in the middle. We've got middle grade power with average acceleration and speed. The I-6 engine is notoriously rock-solid and bulletproof so it will stick it out for the long haul. It got me to thinking about how long this publishing process will take.
I'm not a sports car: I don't expect to get that lucky flash of timing and divine intervention.
I'm not a truck: I don't have the muscle or connections to force through any of my work.
I'm not a hybrid: I don't do things efficiently. I'm a scattershot mess doing the best I can.
I'm a Jeep: I'm in this for the long haul, no matter how many mountains I have to climb, rivers I have to ford, bridges I have to cross or muck I have to pull myself out of. I might short out or stall on occasion. I might have trouble getting started or struggle against some of the others out there. But I'm bulletproof, rock-solid. I'll keep chugging along until I make it.
(Don't worry, my actual writing is much better than this stuff! What do you want for nothing?)