1) The cherry blossoms bloom in the Botanic Gardens.
2) Ice cream trucks roam around, playing their incessant siren song and preying on my weakness for rainbow sprinkles.
3) At the first sign of warm weather, elderly men take off their shirts in public and refuse to put them back on.
4) Cheeky young scamps procure a car, smash out its windows, and set it on fire.
Ahhh, the burned-out car. To be honest, I don't exactly know why this phenomenon occurs. (Gang initiation? Insurance scam? Boredom?) To be even more honest, I don't really want to know. But these melted shells of sadness are scattered around the city, reminding us to pay our car insurance bills and steer clear of parks after sunset. Last week, I walked past this fixer-upper on Flatbush Avenue:
|That's gonna hurt the Blue Book value, AMIRITE?|
As a Brooklyn resident and car owner, the sight pained me a bit (the aforementioned insurance is NOT cheap), but I didn't think it was TOO out-of-the-ordinary until I noticed an item sitting on what was left of the car's rear windshield:
That, my friends, is a copy of American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborne (Knopf, 1991) that someone inexplicably placed on the twisted, burning wreck. Shockingly, I'm not an expert on forensic evidence, but I found the this scene to be strange for a few reasons: the book was in good condition and didn't appear to be a stolen or discarded library book (the Central branch of BPL was not far away). There wasn't any baseball bat/crowbar/fire damage done to the book, telling me that it was placed on the car after the car was destroyed. (Hey, look, I AM a forensic expert!)
So, my question is, why would someone do this? Was it meant to be some kind of sacrifice to the Automobile Gods? An offering of mea culpa to the car's former owner in the event that he or she happens to stumble upon it? Did a kid bored with tall tales toss it onto the wreck in an act of defiance? Or was Knopf merely trying a new children's book marketing idea?
We'll never know. I will say this for Brooklyn: you may see a lot of old man teat, but we still keep it classy by using a good ol' fashioned car burnin' as an opportunity to promote literacy. Well done, Brooklyn. Well done.