Man, let me tell you about vans. I'm pretty much like Beethoven, except my canvas is a van. Yeah, I've lived my entire life around vans, and I've painted a mural on every single van I've owned.
A lot of people will say, "I've owned in a van, it's no big deal." Yeah, you owned a van, like that means something. Anyone can own a van, but it takes a special kind of person to live in a van. I'm that kind of person. I ain't at home unless my sweaty skin is sticking to the vinyl seats. Man, that's just your body's way of trying to hold on to something it likes.
I got my first van when I was 16. I don't know what came over me, but all I could think was, "I've gotta paint the Last Supper on this thing." I totally did. Spent the summer hand painting all of those dudes on the side of my van. Jesus, Noah, the Pharaoh, all those guys just sitting there eating one last supper for old time's sake.
I drove that thing for a couple years, but then I felt the calling again. After a few beers, the Last Supper van ended up in a creek and I was ready to start anew. Got me a new van, and promptly painted none other than the Silver Surfer on the side. That's the life! Just ridin' down the highway, Powers Cosmic in the gas tank, windows down, and the radio on high.
That was the van I had when I was married to Stella. Stella... Well, needless to say, my Silver Surfer van ended up carrying a lot of bad memories in the back. Got a little sauced up one night, and drove that thing into a ravine. Didn't even look back.
A day later I had a new van. I took that ol' hunk o' metal and labored over her night and day for two years. When I was done, she was a work of art. On all her sides were stirring images of the cast of Happy Days. Richie, the Fonz, pretty much everyone. I even had some extra space, so I threw in Joe Namath even though he was never in Happy Days. I just thought, "Why the heck not?"
She ain't much now, but she was a real eye-catcher in her day.Then came 1977, the year of Star Wars. I had a van fully painted no more than a month after the movie came out. Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan, C3PO, they were all airbrushed on the side. Well, one night I had a few too many drinks and crashed her into a quarry. I lost a good van, but I knew in my heart it was just a summer fling. A man can't grow too attached to a van. They're like women, you see. You put a lot of work into one, but sooner or later it crashes into a quarry and you just gotta move on.
You know, if I squint hard enough, I can still smell that van. Had an odd onion smell, and I never could figure out why. I made love to a lot of beautiful women in that van, but mostly I just tried to find the source of that onion smell.
Shit, 1981? That was the year I first met stupid Doug Heins. That son of a bitch was a fixture of the county fair circuit, racking up stupid trophies and ribbons left and right. Seems like there wasn't a painted van contest he didn't enter. Long story short, I got into quite the competition with Doug, one that lasted nearly a decade.
Doug and I battled it out from county to county across America, sacrificing everything for our craft. He usually beat me nine times out of ten, and I hated his guts for it. He got so cocky he even started calling himself Doug Van Heins, like he was some kind of royalty or something.
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Elliot said my breakup must have been due to the sweater curse, an unexplained phenomenon where anyone who gives their significant other a hand-knit sweater gets dumped. The only way to break the curse, Elliot said, was to destroy the sweater.
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