Our family had a great time last night watching a fictional family on TV, the Dunphys and their extended clan in the popular show Modern Family. A hallmark of great fiction is that it feels true to life. Several of the characters in this popular sitcom in particular resonate with us, as we have gay son (TV analog: Mitch, Cam) and two adopted kids (Lily).

One of the episodes in last night's mini-marathon involved the drama of a non-working car in the garage that had clearly outlived its usefulness, but to which the mom, Claire, carried a sentimental attachment, based on her fond memories from when her kids were younger. Among those memories were the many times her youngest child, Luke, vomited while in transit. Logic dictates the car needs to be discarded, but as is often the case in human affairs, emotion rules.

Wouldn't you know it: we have a non-working car in our garage, a twelve-year old Honda minivan which I unfortunately totaled in a fender bender. And our youngest child also made a career out of barfing in it. Trips required a couple of plastic bags be on hand at all times, given his propensity to toss his cookies.

The collision which rendered our minivan undrive-able involved a minor level of force. However, the other vehicle was an old pickup truck, apparently made out of lead, and as if that weren't enough, with a discarded washing machine in the flatbed. The truck, with its massive weight, hit me at a sharp angle,and the laws of physics, which state that mass times velocity times the stupidity of the driver at fault equal force, caused it to crumple a substantial amount of sheet metal along with my gas tank. The body work required to bring the car back to health exceeds its market value by approximately nine thousand dollars.  

However, like the fictional Claire, my wife clings to fond memories which the car contains. The mess of life with small children: stinky diapers, barfing, fighting in the back seat. 

Fiction generally follows a neat formula, and the dictates of a half-hour program require resolution before the last commercial. The fictional Dunphys dispose of their old wreck before the credits roll.

Meanwhile, we still have an old Maybe life can imitate art for our family.


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