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Sunday, June 23, 2024

It may come as a surprise to you, but America doesn't do tiny. Miniature book sales are at all-time lows. I sold all my stock in thimbles years ago. Mini-Me hasn't had a good role since Austin Powers.

If you're looking to discover that big is in, look no further than your local parking lot.

It's difficult to comprehend somebody buying a large car to drive in a city, but people do it every day. This confounds me. Driving a large car on a day-to-day basis is like writing with a broken pencil - pointless.

Especially in Florida. We don't have hills to contend with, we don't drive to work in the snow, and most of our roads are actually paved.

I'd assume that people buying large SUVs in our lovely state are concerned by the elderly population. I understand their anxieties because old people are truly dangerous. Those hooligans drive at speeds of up to 40 mph! Our highways can't be considered safe with so many snowbirds recklessly leaving turn signals on for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

But seriously, why haven't we challenged our big-car culture? Because these monstrosities are still considered sexy. Marketers use images of power and sexuality to sell these beasts, and the public is receptive - standing googly-eyed in line with their tongues dripping saliva, waiting to drop ,50,000 on what is essentially metal and plastic.

Think about the typical buyer of, say, a Cadillac Escalade. Having been made fun of his whole life for being puny, the subject uses a large car to fool potential mates into thinking he's bigger.

This is clearly the wrong approach. Getting into something large makes you pale in comparison. If you want to look smarter, you don't pick an intellectual fight with Stephen Hawking.

And who buys large trucks when they aren't involved in construction? Men who need to make up for their lack of power in the real world. Commercials selling trucks are always over-hyped in the sense that no man has such a preposterous amount of testosterone.

They advertise with preposterone.

I acknowledge people who need a large car to tow a boat or cargo. People with high expendable incomes buy large things that need to be moved. But the argument for smaller cars isn't about wealth. It's about absurdity. A woman who drives her kids to soccer, drives to the mall and drives back to pick up the kids doesn't need a car powerful enough to tow a Boeing.

Doesn't buying a large car also speak volumes about your driving ability? "I comb my hair, eat and talk on the phone while driving. I'd better buy a tank." Is there any other reason the parents on the TV show "My Super Sweet 16" buy their little brats SUVs?

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Some people say, "I just feel safer in a large car." Haven't you ever played "Mario Kart"? The larger drivers take forever to start and stop their Karts because of momentum and weight. This means it's hard to avoid something coming straight at you.

Maybe we're catching on to our own stupidity. Smart USA, owned by Mercedes-Benz, is finally going to sell the Smart Car in America in early 2008. The car is so small it can park sideways in a parallel spot, but it's designed to look good.

Regardless of how cool they are or what options are available, people may not switch to decently sized automobiles for fear of being made fun of. They don't realize we've been making fun of them the whole time.

Kyle Cox is a junior majoring in marketing and anthropology. His column appears on Tuesdays.

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