TheUmbrellaPolicy

The Umbrella Policy

By Rob “Right Foot” Krider

Life is all about choices. Coke or Pepsi? The Beatles or the Stones? Ford or Chevy? In most situations these types of choices are personal preferences and are usually harmless (unless you have Type 2 diabetes, in which both Coke and Pepsi are clearly the wrong choice).

Now, there are other choices in life that aren’t just preferences. These choices can make very big differences in a person’s life. For instance, should I jump out of an airplane? Should I swim with sharks? Should I get married? These types of choices come with extreme risks, although for the record, in the history of the world a shark never garnished anyone’s wages for child support.

A couple of years ago I found myself making one of these tough risky choices. I needed to decide if I should buy a sports car or save money for my kid’s college fund. I chose to buy a Corvette.

Not surprisingly my wife, whom I love, didn’t agree with my choice. She thought the Corvette made me seem old. I told her, “Having a kid in college makes you old.” I figured if I spent all of the college money on a sports car then I wouldn’t have a kid in college.

I found the fountain of youth. Aging problem solved. Plus the Corvette could earn me trophies and the opportunity to stand on the podium with younger women, which by proxy would make me feel younger.

One day I was standing in my driveway happily washing the Corvette after a race when my wife decided to make a surprising declaration. She said, “If I ever caught you driving this car around town with some young harlot in the right front seat, I would sell your car for a dollar and have an affair with the guy who buys it.”

Message received! I clearly understood what she was saying. And I believed her, so much so I considered unbolting the right front seat, removing it from the car altogether and leaving it in the garage. The reality is my wife really had nothing to worry about. I didn’t buy a Corvette to meet women. I bought a Corvette because it’s fast.

The funny thing about the car was that I never had a single woman give the Corvette a second glance. Now pizza delivery boys and male fast foot drive-thru workers between the ages of 16 to 24, if I wanted to I could easily get their phone numbers on a daily basis. They loved the Z06 Corvette.

I didn’t buy the car to look old, or feel young, or to meet teenage boys who work in the fast food industry. I bought the car because it came with 505 horsepower, which made me feel alive every time I stomped on the gas pedal, instantly smashing my brain into the back of my skull. The car was amazingly fast. Feloniously fast in fact. In order to enjoy the full potential of the car in a legal and ethical manner I decided to take it to a race track over and over again and compete with it. This equaled more trophies.

I entered a racing series which was a reality TV show called Optima’s Search for the Ultimate Street Car. The rules were you had to have a fast street car and you had to be dumb enough to race it on the track. I possessed both of those things. Driving the car on the show like a complete imbecile (tires smoking, always sliding sideways) allowed me to win the first episode of the season and landed me an invitation to the season finale in Las Vegas.

I was super excited. My wife was not as excited. She wasn’t a fan of all of these girls hanging out with me on the podium. But since these girls sometimes handed me big checks when I won, she let me go anyway, reiterating our little arrangement regarding front passengers. “Remember what I said… a dollar.”

“Yes, Dear.”

Vegas was a blast and the racing was great, but it did come with some complications for me, namely, something called “the umbrella girls.” Optima had hired scantily clad fashion models to walk around with umbrellas and provide shade for the racing drivers as they sat in their cars between track sessions. This would all be, of course, filmed for the reality TV show.

Now, I know that my wife would rather spend an hour in a dentist chair before she watched ten seconds of a reality TV show about cars (even if I was in it), but I wasn’t going to take the risk of my bride seeing video of me sitting in my Corvette while a model in a skimpy dress made small talk.

Even if it was 115 degrees in Las Vegas and I could really use the shade from the umbrella, Mrs. Krider would definitely not approve. I know what she would say if she was there, “You can die of dehydration before you get shade from those women.” Message received.

I came up with a policy; you could say it was an “umbrella policy.” The plan was to stay as far away from the umbrella girls as possible. I didn’t need that kind of trouble at my house. The problem was the Corvette was fast – so fast I set the pole position for my run group.

That meant my car sat at the front of the line of racecars, and that “number one” position came complete with not just one, but TWO, umbrella girls, and FOUR reality TV cameras. Not good.

My plan was to have absolutely no contact. I just kept my helmet on, face shield down, and didn’t say anything. All I wanted to do was race my car and get out of Vegas without wrecking the Corvette, especially since the bank technically owned the car and insurance doesn’t apply at race tracks. I also didn’t want to wreck my marriage. Nobody needs their wages garnished.

Suddenly I heard the umbrella girl near my driver’s door say, “Nice Corvette. I like your helmet. It looks like you do this sort of thing a lot. I’m picking you to win.”

Burnout

Obviously she was a hired professional. My umbrella policy was being tested. I didn’t want to be rude. But I didn’t want to start a conversation I would have to explain to my wife later. So I decided to do the only thing in my power to separate myself from the umbrella girl: When the green flag dropped, I dumped the clutch, slammed on the gas pedal, and started spinning the rear tires.

This created a huge smoke screen that segregated me from the girl with the umbrella. Within seconds she was engulfed in smoke and covered in tire rubber. For the rest of the race weekend she never came near me again. Problem solved. Marriage saved. I live to race another day!

Rob Krider, author of the novel Cadet Blues, is a factory pilot for Double Nickel Nine Motorsports. To read more stories from Rob go to robkrider.com.

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