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Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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Inspection Havoc In the Merrimack Valley or Corruption and Chaos in the Auto Inspection Industry On the afternoon of 4/23/01, I decided that I would go and get my dad's new car, an '89 Caravan, inspected so that we would not be arrested for driving it. You are usually given 7 days after the registration of a new car to get it inspected, after that they can your ass. So, it being about 3:30 in the afternoon, I decide to head up the street where I have had good luck doing this before. Now, this car had not yet been outfitted with a new set of tires, even though I was planning to do that after my dad made sure that the car wasn't a lemon. My dad had warned me not to say anything about it unless they asked, since they could just fail the car and then we would have to pay twice.

I should also note that my dad was due to leave on a trip to England for two weeks the next day, and unless I got that car inspected, he was going to take my sporty little Saab and leave that parked in the airport parking lot. This, of course, was an unacceptable outcome, so I decided that this car WAS getting inspected hell or high water.

So, I head out on my merry way, to the inspection station. I drive in, and the guy comes out, asks for registration. I give it to him, and he proceeds to look the car over. First thing he does is point to the tires. "You need new tires. This car will fail inspection." I reply that I planned on doing this as soon as we determined the car wasn't a lemon. No dice. When I started to politely protest, he tells me to beat it. OK, now I'm getting aggravated. However, there was still another inspection station up the street. I go there, and discover that the guy couldn't care less about the tires, but his machine is broken. "Come back tomorrow." I can't do this, so while thinking of what the hell I'm going to do, I go to the bank to cash some checks.

I head on over to the bad part of Lowell, where there are all sorts of junkyards and stuff. I find an inspection station, but they have already closed, even though it was only about 4:10. So I start driving out past the Lowell Cinemas, and head out to Chelmsford. I drive and drive, and finally find an inspection station.

As I walk up, I see some guy inside, talking on the phone. As I wait for him to finish, the biggest fucking Rottweiler I have ever seen comes trotting around the corner. Now, I don't really like dogs, but I am by no means scared of them. But this thing was the size of a fucking tank. It easily weighted a hundred pounds if it weighed an ounce. So it looks at me quizzically for a few seconds, and then proceeds to start licking my hands and my crotch. Meanwhile, the guy gets off the phone and asks me what I want. His shop helper comes up in time to listen to my tales of woe. During this time, the huge-ass dog is busily trying to lick my nuts out of my pants and let me tell you, there are few things harder to do then try and look cool while talking to men you instantly feel inferior around, because they know everything about cars, all the while having your crotch moistened by the saliva of an eager, 100 pound dog with a mouthful of teeth. I am quickly (thank god, since my jeans were soaked through and I was starting to feel damp around the dong) informed that they will NOT, under any circumstances inspect my car that day, and probably not the next either. I lost no haste booking it for my uninspected car, followed by my new friend, who, as I write this, is probably chewing some sheet steel or bolts somewhere.

Totally pissed off now, I head back to Lowell, and go to one last place. As I walk into the service station, I was confronted by an ugly, flea-bitten, knife slashed being whom I can only describe as a "wet-back" from Mexico. This fellow evidently was not long gone from the homeland, as he barely spoke 2 words of English. He directed me to his boss, who flat out refused to inspect my car, as he had 2 more to do, and he wanted to get on home. At this point I suggested that I could make it in his best interests to inspect my car and give me a sticker. He suggested that I wait to the side. I waited for 45 minutes, during which I attempted conversation with the wet-back and his equally ugly women sidekick.

Finally, I was attended to by the degenerate running the place. He inspected my car and proclaimed that I needed a new reverse light and new wiper blades. Since I intended to bribe him anyway, I told him he could go screw himself with the wiper blades but I would consent to paying $8 for a new reverse indicator light. This he repaired, taking all of 25 seconds to do so. I paid his exorbitant fee, plus a $10 "tip" which he requested before putting on the sticker. I complied, feeling lucky to have gotten inspected, being late as it was. On my way out, I extracted some small manner of revenge by gunning my engine while the front end was pointed at his wet-back, who fled, probably thinking I was one of the "federales," or perhaps a common madman who hated Mexicans. So that's my little saga. Thank God I have a good long while before I have to get the car inspected again!