(Editor's note: The Legal Department has insisted on a reminder that even more so than usual this month, most statements by the good doctor are not legally defensible. Furthermore, decency standards limit the choice of words but suffice to say that Doc may very well be quite full of, um, well, himself, in a most literal sense. Don't say you weren't warned.)
My accountant called recently with good news. If you think that having an accountant indicates being overpaid simply for writing about Jeeps, let me state that is not the case. I break even as long as I write my column in shorthand on old newspapers, using those little free pencils from the library. Don't bother writing to the editor to complain because he won't do anything. It might help if the letters were postmarked from places other than just my hometown, but that is beside the point.
The good news from my accountant was twofold. First, and this will make future appointments easier to arrange, he is expecting an early release for good behavior. The best news, however, is that because I've ordered so many Jeep parts online during the past year, my UPS driver can now be claimed as a dependent for tax purposes. Reaching such a level of purchases was no easy task. Sheer determination was required. The challenge was not for the faint of heart or weak of wallet.
Consider the benefits of purchasing Jeep parts online. For one thing, it doesn't get any better than shopping while dressed in a bathrobe. Truth be told, there's nothing keeping me away from my local 4x4 shop while dressed like that. However, the other customers tend to stare and the guys behind the counter don't take me seriously. Hands down, the advantage goes to online shopping.
Waiting for delivery is about the only major drawback to ordering Jeep parts online. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, it is now possible to track one's Jeep parts as they travel through the UPS system. I've never been there, but apparently Hodgkins, Illinois, has a powerful black hole where packages enter but rarely leave. This observation is based on the number of times that my orders have ceased all motion there for several days in mid-journey.
One day, while trying to make an order move faster by repeatedly clicking the "track" button, I noticed something buried in the fine print. UPS has trademarked the color brown for certain applications. Can they do that? More importantly, can I get away with something similar? Would people have to pay me royalties? Just to be on the safe side, by the time this magazine hits the newsstands, I should be the trademark owner for red, blue, green, purple and pretty much all remaining colors except brown. Anybody that has ever used any of those colors for any reason, please send your royalty payments. Please note this is NOT a request to learn about the real-life implications of the trademark process, as I much prefer my own little fantasy world.
Having cornered the market for colors, I should soon have the financial means to fulfill my wildest Jeep dreams. What other untapped markets are calling me? Why limit myself to colors? This column hereby serves as legal notice that I will soon be the trademark holder for the following words from the vocabulary of Jeep enthusiasts.
Extreme: Owning this popular word should allow me to retire in the near future. All these years I was merely off-roading when I was supposed to have been extreme off-roading instead. I'll even trademark Xtreme, which by skimping on vowels leaves more time for all-around extremeness. Now that I own the word, let's redefine it just for fun. No longer does extreme relate to adrenaline-rush pursuits such as white-water kayaking, rappelling, or bungee jumping. Extreme now means having a propensity for nice cardigans and perhaps even matching golf pants.
Bolt-on: Yep, I'll own that one, too. Commonly used to describe aftermarket conversion parts. I won't mess with the definition of this one too much. Let's just say that bolt-on will always mean "fear of welding."
Bulletproof: This one's a keeper, too. When applied to low-cost parts like U-joints, it still means that other more expensive parts will break instead.
Thanks to everybody who will soon be providing my financial security. I'll be thinking of you every time I walk to the mailbox to collect the royalty checks. I've just got to meet with my lawyer to put the plan in motion. Luckily, I can save an extra trip by visiting him at the same time as my accountant.- Dr. Vern