It’s not a possession, it possesses you.

This is the tag line associated with the current marketing campaign of an “American built” (whatever that means) luxury automobile. Apparently, cars are no longer just possessions – things that we bring into our lives, keep in our lives, and presumably throw out someday. Things that affect our lives, and, we hope, make our lives somehow better. Things we control – things that are under our control.

I’m pretty comfortable with the concept of things I control (I do so love my illusions). Things that are mine, if only for a little while. Maybe I have exchanged a fair number of days of toil as a wage-slave for the thing; an exchange that I do “all the time” and often without thinking (as if my life were worth nothing at all). Maybe, a huge number of the hours of my life (a frightening number if I would allow myself to actually count the hours). And, hand-in-glove, my investment gives me ownership: that thing is mine to control, not someone else’s. I am the one – not somebody else – who decides where that thing is and who uses it and, well, you know.

So, I buy a car – sorry, automobile. I drive it home and park it in my driveway for all my neighbors to see (I can’t hide it in my garage, to protect it from those less than neighborly, because, well, I have too many other things in my garage – or, “stuff” as George Carlin would say). I might even call some friends…no, that is so old school. I’d take a photo (if not a video) with my smart-phone and post it on my very own page (“wall” if you will) at (in?) my social networking website (if I could ever figure out how). I can just see my banker and my insurance agent getting out the travel brochures.

I might even just sit in it and feel the fine Corinthian leather – oops, wrong car (and era, too).

But, I think I might be gobsmacked (I just love how John Malkovich said that) to hear my neighbors snickering about how my brand-new, shiny automobile possessed me. Gobsmacked because I just know – I just know – they are all filled with envy at my new…

Now wait a doggone minute. Let me get this straight: it is, undoubtedly my acquisition, right? I mean, I worked for the money that the dealer took in exchange; and it’s sitting in my driveway; and I’m paying the insurance; and the title has my name on it; and a whole host of other metrics we might apply to define who acquired what. But, while it is my acquisition, it possesses me? That doesn’t sound right. It – this car, this thing – controls me? Owns me? Determines what I can do and what I can’t do? You mean, I can’t just leave the keys on the dash and walk away? (Not sure cars have keys anymore, or dashboards for that matter.)

Why, in the name of everything holy (or, not holy if you’re into that sort of thing) would I want to be possessed by a car? Sounds like the plot of a movie I wish I could forget. I can think of lots of things I do want to be possessed by, but a car just ain’t on the list. Not no way, not no how.

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