A while ago, I discovered Dan Neil. His columns kind of crept up on me. To be fair, I did notice when he received a Pulitzer. I thought something along the lines of, "Wow. Someone who writes car reviews won a Pulitzer. He must write pretty well." But he worked for the L.A. Times, all the way across the country, and there was more than enough for me to read here, and so I forgot about him.
Then one Saturday, I had a blank half hour and had read everything else of interest in the paper. The the car section sat there, untouched. I glanced at the first line of his syndicated column and the next thing I knew, I had finished the whole damn long review. Do I remember which car he reviewed? No. Nor a word of what he said. I didn't even notice that he was the one who had written it. I do remember I was grinning.
A month or two later, I had a few minutes on a Saturday. I had read everything else of interest in the paper and I noticed the car section. "There was that good article, once." I found his column. And, damn, it was good.
And so it started.
I didn't look for his columns. In fact, it took me several years to figure out that the car section appeared on Saturdays in our paper. (As I said, I'm *not* a car aficionado.) But whenever I ran across them, I gave myself the time to finish them. They're that good.
Don't believe me?
Check out the one that appeared this week. Had me smiling. Right to the end.
So now, I do look for his columns. Every Saturday. Right after reading the comics.
Has he changed my outlook on cars? Well, when it's time to purchase a new one, I'll still check out Consumer Reports and look under "reliability" and "value." I'm boring that way. But I do know which pickup to borrow if I want to haul some heavy stuff. Or why it's more fun to go fast in a slow car than slow in a fast car. Or, you know, what to drive if I ever want to wear a raccoon on my head.
Thank you Dan Neil.