Convertible: (adj) having a folding top, as an automobile or pleasure boat.

One of the nicest things my father-in-law did before he decided he hated me was allowing me to drive his 1967 silver Corvette with a convertible top to the prom. He did this because I was taking his daughter, of course.

Matter of fact, I don’t remember him being that nervous about it. I think it’s because he had already decided not to like me, and figured if I brought the car back intact, what’s the harm? And if I was killed driving it, what’s the harm?

The day of the prom I had free use of the vehicle, preparing for the evening’s festivities. I took it out on the old 3-C Highway, on a stretch of road that was pretty deserted, and for the first time in my life, I drove a hundred miles an hour.

I suppose I should tell you it was invigorating, and I felt like a real man, but actually, it scared the shit out of me. I had the top down, and it happened to be one of those days in the Buckeye State when the sun was willing to shine without regret.

By nightfall, as I put on my tuxedo for the ball, I had sprouted a huge sunburn. A normal person would have been upset about this, but I was young, foolish and still engaged in the craft of stupidity. I thought I looked cool. I thought when you compiled my tuxedo plus the Corvette plus my sunburn, which I declared to be a tan, that I had a slight (ever-so-slight) resemblance to James Bond.

Yet, after picking up his daughter and going to the prom, I discovered that everybody spent the evening deeply concerned about my scorching. And even to this day, you can look in our class yearbook and see a picture of me with huge dark-red cheeks.

It turns out, I was not James Bond. Instead, I was his younger dopey brother, Dirwood, who had not yet discovered the wisdom of sunblock.

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Published by Jonathan Cring