My children have a tendency to name everything, including inanimate objects. I may be old fashioned, but I don’t remember naming my car, my band instrument, my backpack, or anything like that. Oh, we had a few choice names for something like a wrench when it slipped off a bolt, causing us to rip the skin off of our knuckles, but we used the same names for everything, although I can’t say what they were in a family publication.

But I learned I wasn’t up to speed when my daughter walked in and told me that Jackie was having some problems.

“Jackie who?” I asked.

“Jackie Honda.”

I searched the recesses of my brain, but could not for the life of me remember meeting any of her friends that went by that name. I tried to think of anyone or any family that might have a last name of Honda, but it was useless.

I queried further. “What is she doing?”

“Actually, Dad, it’s what she isn’t doing as much as what she is. Every morning, I can hardly get her going.”

“How long has she been this way?”

“Well,” my daughter said thoughtfully, “I would have to say that it has been more so since it got to be cold. It seems the colder it gets, the harder it is to get her moving.”

“I must admit that I often feel the same way,” I replied.

“Speaking of which, I think she might be a few quarts low,” my daughter said.

“Why would you say such a thing?” I asked.

“Every time we go to pass someone, she kind of growls.”

This really stunned me, though I tried to keep my composure and be a good listening parent. “Well, that doesn’t sound very good.”

“I agree,” my daughter said. “And another thing that bothers me about her is the way she shimmies.”

Now I was really becoming concerned. “She shimmies a lot?”

“Oh, yeah. She shimmies enough that I almost think her back end is going to come apart. I could swear that she has some kind of rear end problems.”

“If she does it that much, it definitely is cause for concern,” I replied. “In fact, I think any at all is probably too much.”

“That’s what I think, too,” my daughter replied. “especially when we are passing someone. It is downright embarrassing.”

I nodded in agreement as my daughter continued. “And another thing that bothers me is that when I try to get her to stop, she shimmies even more, almost totally out of control. I think she has a screw loose or something.”

I nodded my head. “Among other things, I’d have to say. What can I do to help?”

“Well, could you check her out?”

This last statement from my daughter stunned me so much I didn’t even know what to say. After my daughter left for school, I went in to talk to my wife. “Do you know Jackie Honda?”

My wife spoke in a quiet, unconcerned voice. “Yes. What about her?”

“Do you think she sounds like the kind of girl we want our daughter spending a lot of time with?”

My wife turned around and looked at me, and I could tell by the look on her face that she wondered it I was firing on all pistons.

“Jackie Honda is the kids’ car!”

“Oh, of course,” I said, walking from the room feeling like a total idiot.


Daris Howard, award-winning, syndicated columnist and playwright, is author of “Super Cowboy Rides” and can be contacted at da***@da*********.com“>da***@da*********.com; or visit his website