No Country For Old Cars

"There will be blood," I worried Wednesday morning and emailed Amy Alkon for a ride to David Rensin‘s party tonight at the LA Press Club.

Twice I’d emailed the club my RSVP and eight times my emails came back to me thus: "This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:"

Anti-Semites refusing to take my emails!

Amy emailed back no.

She thought about setting me up with her friend Claudia for a ride but realized the two of us wouldn’t work.

WESTWOOD. 5:30 p.m. I begin the long trek to 4773 Hollywood Blvd.

In one ear, I’ve plugged in a headphone from my CD player so I can listen to Larry McMurtry’s novel Telegraph Days.

The 22 year old female protagonist has a fondness for fornication.

That’s funny. So do I.

Crawling along Wilshire Blvd listening to my book, I munch Orthodox Union certified trail mix from a 44 ounce jar and think about how much I’d like to deeply get to know a stranger this evening.

There will be blood!

5:45 p.m. My engine starts smoking on Santa Monica Blvd, a half mile west of La Cienega Blvd.

It must be in reaction to my thoughts!

I look at my gauge and see I’ve overheated.

After inching a hundred yards through billowing smoke, I pull off to the side at the first empty parking space and pop the hood.

The plastic (?) container labeled coolant is boiling and steaming.

Steam, not smoke! Thank the good L-rd!

I pop the radiator cap then pick up my book on narcissism (Why is it Always About You?) and read for five minutes while the engine cools.

Other people are as real as I am.


When I finally open the radiator, I see it is empty.

After just paying $3000 for a new engine, you’d think they’d have spared me a little water.

I can’t believe I’ve broken down again.

I knew this would happen.

There will be blood!

I am driving through the Valley of the Shadow of Death yet I will fear no evil. HaShem is with me!

That rock there, I will speak to it. Must not stroke it. Nor strike it.

Lo, there’s a fountain. There are two fountains!

Across the sidewalk, there are bloody fountains!

I fill my water bottle and pour it into the radiator. It makes no dent in the existential emptiness.

The waters from the Almighty barely cover the ripples at the bottom of my tank.

I go back to the fountain and drink deeply from the wellsprings of life.

I feel purified.

Staring at a dead car and seeing expensive repairs ahead, I no longer lust!

I no longer want to bang shiksas!

I no longer thirst for blowjobs!

Glory, hallelujah! I’ve been redeemed. I’ve been washed in the blood of the lamb. I’ve been justified by faith. All my good deeds are like filthy rags. But I believe and my faith is accounted to me as righteousness.

I’ve been transformed by suffering, saved by grace!

Amazing grace!

I’m like Jewry after the Holocaust!

He prepareth a table for me in the midst of mine enemies.

My water bottle runneth over (along with my radiator)!

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will live in the house of HaShem forever!

I pour my bounty into the radiator and over the engine, trying to cool things down.

I feel like a priest in the ancient temple performing some water ritual from Leviticus.

Hurrah! I notice a centimeter of water remains at the bottom of my radiator.

I look under the car and see streams of water.

I must’ve punctured something.

All those thoughts about busting through into the promised land, they were sins!

I’m paying the penalty of my ardor in my engine. It bears the marks of my unrestrained lust throbbing against my firm morals. My face may look saintly but all the wicked things I want to do, they get acted out up front on my mechanics (not the Mexican ones). That’s why I have constant car trouble!

I must wash away my sins.

I go back to the fountain and refill my water bottle.

I pour it into the radiator and — praise the good L-rd — the thing’s filling up.

I’m saved.

I look under the engine. There are drips of water, but no streams.

Floaters, not sinkers!

Maybe my radiator is OK after all. I haven’t checked its water level since getting my van back from the shop a month ago.

After my fourth trip to the fountain, my engine’s got all the water it can handle. With a fresh bottle for the road, I pull back on to Santa Monica Blvd.

Maybe I can make a bracha on this water and then sell it for its salvific properties!

At a break in the traffic, I take a hard left and climb towards Sunset Blvd.

I notice my heat gauge heading up, way up.

My engine’s about to explode again.

Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this burden of sin?

I received a miracle of divine grace, a fountain in the midst of a desert, and instead of prudently heading home, I turned towards David Rensin’s party.

Deep in my unconscious, was I fantasizing about hot slutty secular chicks?

Is that why I’ve behaved so recklessly?

Oh, down, down, down damn spot!

Wicked wanton little alliterative wanker.

What would Rabbi Akiva do?

I figure he’d turn down La Cienega Blvd and head for home.

It’s time to admit defeat.

I can do no good deed through my own power.

Salvation must come from above.

My heat gauge is almost at the top and getting hotter every minute.

I roll downhill, keeping my foot off the accelerator.

I don’t need any more testosterone pills. I shouldn’t take so many Pure MSM capsules. They rev my engine too high. They provoke lustful thoughts. They overflow my radiator. They spill my coolant all over the dusty soil.

I coast past Melrose Blvd and notice my heat gauge sliding down.

It’s now normal.

I’m OK.

I’m just like everyone else.

I’m not being tortured by a capricious deity.

Did the coolant kick in?

I wanna go see my buddy David!

I pull a hard left and head for the press club.

It’s 6:15 p.m.

The traffic flows like wine. I arrive at 6:30.

Coming out of the bathroom, I sneak up on resolute atheist Amy Alkon and run my finger up her spine.

She freaks out until she recognizes the hairy Jew.

I tell her how HaShem saved me with a miraculous fountain and supple traffic.

Kate Coe joins us.

"Kiss my tzitzit you secular bitches!" I scream. "Bow down to the G-d of Israel, and to me His chosen representative!"

That’s the essence of my thought process anyway. I fear that what came out was a more desultory and assimilationist, "Would you like to kiss my tzitzit?"

They both said no.

"Kiss my ass!" says Amy.

"The Torah forbids me! But would Claudia like to kiss my tzitzit?"

Amy doubts it.

Oh ye of little faith, bet Claudia would be all over my tzitzit, pulling on my strings till I give her a bracha!


Kate asks me if I applied for her old position with FishbowlLA.

"I sent in an email for the job, but I’m not sending them a resume for $15 a post. I’m Luke Ford."

Kate says nobody reads my blog anymore since I’ve gone all Jewish.

I spot the rosemary on every table and decide I’ll use it as mistletoe tonight.

"I’m macking on a very high level right now," I explain.

The wine lady asks me how I liked the movie, "No Country For Old Men."

"I respect it," I say, "but I didn’t find it emotionally fulfilling. It was like dry humping."

At 8 p.m., Amy calls the crowd to order. David speaks on his book for 17 minutes. By the time, Miki Dora’s friend Gerry Kantor got the mic, people had resumed their conversations.

I get in a quick video interview with Gerry, who runs the  Leucadia Surf School.

Gerry: "It’s the book of record. We’re all going to be dead soon. We need to get this stuff out for history."

"David verified everything I said."

Here are my videos of the night.

10:30 p.m. I’m driving home alone. On Western Blvd just south of Melrose, I’m pulled over by the cops (who’ve been driving beside me and behind me for several blocks).

I sit at the wheel and look at the loud flashing lights.

There will be blood.

Two Hispanic cops approach me. I hand over my driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance to one while the other shines a light into my serial-killer van and looks around.

I’m told I committed multiple offenses such as driving erratically, speeding, and changing lanes without signalling.

After they run my information, I’m let off with a warning to fix my broken tail light.

There won’t be blood after all.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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