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May 2011 Dr. Vern

Posted in Features on May 1, 2011
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Contributors: Dr. Vern

"Hey, you on the sidewalk, be careful!" I yelled. I'm not sure who was more surprised to hear my outburst: The guy on the sidewalk or my wife beside me in our Jeep. When I explained why I had called out to this unwitting passerby, she patiently pointed out that I didn't understand the intent of the "Caution Pedestrians" sign. I countered that I had always obeyed road sign instructions such as "Merge" or "Yield," but she said it wasn't the same thing. It seems our English language is full of shortcomings that must be addressed. Here are a few suggestions that will hopefully make it into the next update of the dictionary.

Rustoration: This newly coined word is a combination of rust and restoration. With an old Jeep, the two go hand in hand. Rustoration refers to the point in the restoration process when you lower your standards and decide to just live with it instead of fixing all of the rust. Rather than cutting out rusted areas for replacement by welding in new sheetmetal, you convince yourself to just cover them up with diamond plate, a generous helping of filler and paint, or even stickers.

Jeepstification: This newly minted word is a combination of Jeep and justification, and describes the process of justifying Jeep-related expenses. For example, the previous owner of my '63 Willys wagon apparently wanted to reduce acceleration and braking power while simultaneously increasing steering effort and making himself look silly. In other words, he fitted monster wheels to it. I've always liked the appearance of stock rims on an old Jeep, so I scrounged up a used set. They have a little rust that needs to be cleaned up, but instead of paying to have this done, I could save money in the long run with a new sandblaster. Jeepstification doesn't end there, though, because I'll also need a bigger air compressor to run the sandblaster-but that's another investment that will save money down the road. In the strictest terms, you don't have to prove that any Jeep-related purchases will actually save money. You only have to be able to say it with a straight face.

Jeepsterfication: Not to be confused with the previous entry, this word combines Jeepster and justification. The original Jeepster, produced only from 1948 to 1951, was never a big seller. Two-wheel-drive only, it was already underpowered in its day and would be downright impractical in modern traffic. No person in his right mind would want one today due to its many shortcomings. Back to me, I already know what color I want. I just have to come up with enough reasons to justify the purchase, a process known as Jeepsterfication.

EZY Oh $%&#: This is a combination of EZY Out, a tool used to remove broken fasteners, and "Oh $%&#," a common expression uttered when the EZY Out breaks. EZY Outs are great tools which do a wonderful job removing broken fasteners, but only if excessive torque is not needed. Carefully drill into the broken shank, tap in the EZY Out, and spin out the broken piece. Got a broken bolt rusted in place? An EZY Out used here is likely to break and make the situation even worse. If you were an avant-garde composer, the metallic tink of an EZY Out snapping might be the perfect note for a new song, but it's not the sound you want to hear when trying to free a broken bolt. As wonderfully as EZY Outs work for certain situations, they should be stored in a locked container when not in use. The key should be suspended on a string in a gallon jug of water and then set in the freezer. That way, it will take a long time to retrieve the key, which will provide plenty of time to consider if you have a proper application for an EZY Out.

PO bomination: PO stands for previous owner, which is then merged with abomination to describe any suspect workmanship on an old Jeep. I'll offer my own '63 Willys wagon as an example. Although it was technically street legal when I purchased this rig, there wasn't much on it that inspired confidence. After cleaning up dozens of minor issues, I was down to the fun stuff, such as installing a new floor mat in front. One of the many POs had laid down carpet that had long turned nasty and was supporting various uncategorized life forms. The slipshod way the carpet had been installed (even blocking full travel of the gas pedal) didn't qualify as a PO bomination. That term was reserved for what was hidden underneath. Let's just say for easy access to the transmission, there are better means than using an air chisel to hack a 2-foot by 2-foot hole in the floor. And once you've cut out said piece, you could probably find a more secure method for reinstallation than simply gluing it to the carpet.

Wow, I'm getting a headache just thinking about all these problems and the corresponding language to describe them. I should take some aspirin, but the medicine cabinet is empty. I think I'll drive to the drug store, but based on my track record, my wife wants me to understand that those instructions on the big "Drive Through Pharmacy" sign are not to be taken literally.
-Dr. Vern

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