I can’t believe I haven’t treated you to the soothing, mind-expanding goodness of an Automotive Would You Rather since January! What the hell is my problem? Don’t I realize how much you need this? This one is on me, and I apologize. So we’re going to fix this right here, right now, because I have two important, mind-expanding what-if scenarios for you to carefully consider, one that would offer you the opportunity to become a captain of industry, and another that forces you to consider some difficult ethical questions. So, prepare yourself, lubricate that brain with a healthy squirt of linseed oil in each ear, and let’s get to it!
Oh, and I know every time I do one of these there’s at least one commenter who tells me this isn’t the sort of thing they want to read about. So, if that’s you, go back to the home page! There’s so many other stories! I’m not offended! Get out of here, before it gets weird!
SCENARIO ONE: The Five-Year CEO
You’re stalking exes on Instagram one night from the hammock you sleep on in your dilapidated houseboat, when you notice something interesting. One of your old partners, one who broke your heart, seems to be doing really well and for the first time in a long time, you can look at their pictures of their incredible new life without resentment or jealousy. You do note that in all of the photos, they’re holding what appears to be a slightly rotting avocado. You don’t think much of it, deciding that you’re going to reach out and send them a nice message. For the first time, you feel a burden off your chest, and you fall asleep, loudly and lavishly.
When you awake in the morning, you find messages from your ex. They’re so happy you reached out, and they’ve been thinking about you for a long time, feeling badly about how it all went down, which made them decide something. They’re going to send you the secret to their new success in life: that rotting avocado.
You see, the avocado actually houses an ancient Krometherian god (a pantheon that, yes, included the famous Gozer the Gozarian), one of the ones worshiped commonly around 5740 BCE in the Kromenian River Valley (and also by the ancient Hittites, Mesopotamians, and the Sumerians), which is located in the river basin between modern day Chile and Vanuatu. The god was named Arcthania, and was the God of Opportunities. Your ex agreed to worship this nearly-forgotten god, and in return they were granted the chance to take advantage of an opportunity provided by Arcthania. As a result, they now have a fantastic life. Now, it’s your turn.
You place the avocado on an altar you made from old Amazon boxes, and performed the many, complex, and surprisingly naked rituals with the avocado. After a long night of sweaty worship, the avocado began to hover, glow, and emit a booming voice that echoed out across the houseboat. You’ve never heard the language before, full of odd whistling and belching sounds, but somehow you know what’s being said.
Essentially, it’s this: Arcthania has conjured a magical opportunity for you. The opportunity is that you can immediately take total control of any major automaker you choose, and you can steer that company to do or make anything you want. Total control. If you say, for example, you’d like to re-direct all of GM into making nothing but the world’s best amphibious vehicles, then that’s what will happen, using all of the resources that colossal company can muster.
There’s a catch, though: this can only last for seven years. After seven years, it will all collapse, completely, with factories closing and jobs lost and everything going straight to hell. Maybe the assets could be bought and restarted by another entity, but you’d be out, and known as the one who cratered a massive auto company. So, you can absolutely achieve your wildest automotive dreams, on a massive scale. Until, you know, disaster.
SCENARIO TWO: The Unbearable Pain Of Being
You wake up in the hospital, where you’ve just woken up from surgery as doctors have been desperately removing shards of Kinder Surprise Egg chocolate from your colon, when the fourteen eggs you were trying to smuggle into America (they’re illegal here, you see) inside your anus experienced catastrophic failure, rupturing the eggs and showering your insides with chocolate egg and plastic toy shrapnel. The process subjected you to massive amounts of pain, pain that was intense enough that the quantum barrier between our world and the Realm of Feels became porous, and a Pain Spirit entered our world.
The Pain Spirit is a being of considerable power, and is bound to you, personally. It has access to your thoughts and desires, and is actually delighted for the opportunity to experience our world, which is filled with wonders like Stuckey’s and Dave and Buster’s. As a way of saying thanks, the Pain Spirit has generated a self-contained amorphous semi-being, which has been trained to be able to literally become any car you want, just by commanding it.
You always wanted to drive a Gordon-Keeble? Just look at the glowing orb that is the amorphous semi-being and command it! Want a Facel-Vega? Just ask. A Maybach? A Renault 4? An Ariel Atom? Say the word, and off you go!
Oh, but there is one thing: because this magic was generated by a Pain Spirit, a side effect is that whatever car you command the semi-being to become can feel pain. That means if you ding a door, it hurts the car. If you run it too hard or too long, it aches. An actual crash would be excruciating. It’ll feel cold out at night and in the rain and snow, and if you park it in the hot sun, you know it’ll suffer. Cobblestones hurt, so do railroad tracks. And don’t get me started on gravel.
Sure, maybe you can ignore this, because the car will still do its best, if you’re willing to push it, but somehow you’ll know when it’s hurting.
So! There are your options: be an auto industry kingpin for seven glorious years that will absolutely end in disaster, or drive any car you’ve ever wanted, but you’ll know when it feels pain. So what’s it gonna be? Time to choose!