Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jim Aylward: Mishaps in cars that weren't even moving

I was born into a family of hard-working people wary of the good life. So, when I became a bit of a success in New York City, let's just say I often didn't know which spoon to use.

The first time the radio station for which I worked sent a limousine to pick me up at my Brooklyn flat to take me to a gala event, I botched it. The driver rang the bell, saying my car was here. As I stepped on the street, the neighbors stared. "Good Evening, Mr. Aylward!" said the driver, opening the door to the monstrously sized car.

As I stepped into the limo I fell on the floor. I had no idea the seat was so far back. The driver, seeing my predicament, remarked, "It happens all the time." Incredulous, I said, "People fall on the floor?" He said, "Very often, sir!" A diplomatic limo driver.

I've had my trouble with regular cars, too. I had a sponsor on my radio show who sold Buicks. After a luncheon one day, I was taken to his showroom and fell in love with the "cream puff" on the floor. It was a baby blue and white Buick Regal, with leather seats, opera windows, the works. When I drove it home, my neighbor said, "You're not parking that on the street, are you?" I said, "Why not?"

One morning not long thereafter I headed to my car, stepping over a man sleeping it off in my Prospect Park West doorway. I got into the Buick, tried to put the key in the ignition, and found a giant hole where the ignition had once been. I also found a huge rock on the backseat, and the left-side opera window broken.

The car was a two-door, each heavy and long. One early morning I somehow closed the driver-side door on my left foot. Though I continued my day, when I got back home I could barely get my shoe off. I wore slippers for days, limping around. Later, during a scheduled physical with my doctor, he asked me why I was limping, so I told him. He was astonished that I had never had it X-rayed. He sent me for an X-ray and it showed that I had indeed broken a bone, though it was healing on its own. My doctor thought I was nuts.

During that time my great friend Ethel Gabriel, the head of RCA Records, decided to have a gala at the Larchmont Country Club. She invited the famous, and she invited me. I told her I had a broken foot. She said, "I'll send a limo!" She told me to buy some dress-up slippers and forget about it. I got navy blue and, with the suite and tie, I didn't look too shabby. The limo arrived with British band leader Johnny Douglas and his wife. I crawled in carefully and we were off. I sat next to Ethel at the affair and, after several serious libations, I said, "Would you like to dance?" She said, "I'd love to," and the next thing I knew I was on the dance floor. My foot felt wonderful! What a little expensive bourbon can do.

Several cars later I came down to earth and bought a Chevette. Tiny, but I was able to fit into it perfectly. It was a stick shift and I could park it almost anywhere. One morning I was driving into the city, got to Houston Street and was stopped at the light. A guy wanted to wipe my window with a dirty rag. I had no money and told him so. He got furious, jumped on the hood and swung a beer bottle at me. The little Chevette windshield held. I put the car in gear and drove through the light. He rolled off.

Just another morning, another car in the Big Apple.

Jim Aylward was formerly a nationally syndicated columnist and radio host in New York City. Jim welcomes letters from readers. Write him at P.O. Box 1596, Elfers, FL 34680-1596.

Jim Aylward: Mishaps in cars that weren't even moving 01/26/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 11:23am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tropical Storm Harvey could regroup but stay clear of Florida


    The remnants of former Tropical Storm Harvey could rebound while two other systems brewing in the Atlantic Ocean are unlikely to develop into severe weather.

    The remnants of former Tropical Storm Harvey could rebound while two other systems brewing in the Atlantic Ocean are unlikely to develop, according to the National Hurricane Center. [National Hurricane Center]
  2. Fatal hit and run closes section of Nebraska Avenue


    TAMPA — Police are investigating a fatal hit and run crash early Sunday morning on Nebraska Avenue.

  3. Sunday Conversation: Roberto Torres talks immigration

    Human Interest


    Roberto Torres stands as one of the city's most impressive rising entrepreneurs. The owner of Blind Tiger Cafes, Black & Denim clothing company and CoWork Ybor has expanded his reach with locations at Tampa International Airport and The Morrison, a new mixed use development in the SoHo District. Torres, …

    Roberto Torres receives his American Dream award from U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor on Aug. 15.
  4. Tampa police officer shoots man in Ybor


    A Tampa police officer shot a man while investigating a trespassing call at a vacant house on the eastern edge Ybor City early this morning, police officials said.

    Daniel Olinger, 68, was shot by an officer investigating a tresspassing call early Sunday morning. [Tampa Police]