An Ode To The Beaded Seat Cover

Oh, beaded seat cover, how my back yearns for your nubbly embrace. You are the de-crapifier of seats, the ghetto body cooler and the sweet taxi driver fashion accessory all rolled into one.

As a displaced New Yorker, I had often seen you throughout my youth in those ubiquitous yellow barges. However, it took me until adulthood to understand the reason for you being everywhere, aside from being used in a pinch as a muslim prayer mat (a friend of mine has referred to you as "godly" but somehow I don't think that's what he was talking about).

Our story begins when my decently comfortable Mazda Tribute was written off a few months ago. Who knew hail damage could elimiate an entire vehicle's value? Anyway. I knew I would buy another car, but I also knew I'd need temporary transportation.

My fiancee's father has two 5.0 Mercury Grand Marquises. He got them from his father, who was a Canadian Auto Workers union member and some sort of foreman at the Oakville Assembly before he retired. One of the cars is a 2-door gray-coloured 1985 factory special, with a 4bbl carburetor and more power than they were supposed to have in 1985. Legendary body strength too - a tree fell on it a couple years ago, and all it did was ruin the landau roof and leave a small dent in the sheetmetal, which was easily pushed back out from the inside. The other is a much more standard white 4dr model from 1991. He's lately taken to thinking that the 1985, with its 2 doors, angular front clip and burbly exhaust note, is a muscle car. Fine with me. I'll drive the 1991 for a little while.

But wait! Last time I drove this car for more than a few hours, I was wracked with back spasms and had trouble sleeping normally that night! What the hell? Oh, right, it's a cheapish American luxury car from the early 90s. The seats are a sofa. Support is for weenies. Real men - real *old* men, if we're to be honest about this car's target audience - should be wrapped in a pillowy embrace, as a reward for their long lives of hard work. Rest now, the car seems to say. Leave the effort to the younger generation. Relax and enjoy our effortless power steering, quiet but insistent V8, shift free driving experience and waterbed-like suspension. Take a nap if you want. But for a young whippersnapper like me, it was all wrong. The only thing keeping me awake were the twinges in my back.

And my thoughts turned to you, wooden bead seat cover. Surely you must be comfortable, I thought. After all, you're used 24/7 by nearly every cabbie I've ever met. And in essentially the same car, no less! I must find you, I thought. So I went to the ricer store in the chinese mall a few minutes from my house and- nothing. Well, ok, you're not really a ricer accessory. Probably wouldn't even attach to a Momo seat. I'll try the auto parts stores.

4 blocks south of the street I live on is a main drag through the city. Actually, it's a main drag through the country - head east and you'll eventually hit the Atlantic Ocean, west and you'll get mugged in Vancouver. On the part of this street that passes through my neighborhood there are no fewer than 5 separate auto parts stores. At each one, I asked for you, got a shrug, and a suggestion to go to the next store on the strip. The last one said, well, what about Wal-Mart?

Not a bad idea. Wal-mart sells all sorts of cheap crap and they do have a sizable automotive section. Off to Wal-Mart I go. Back's already starting to hurt a bit. I feel I should note that I don't actually have any back problems- no injury, no odd curvature or anything. I'm solely bothered by the slightly folded squishy bed that makes up the seats in a 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis.

I arrive at Wal-Mart, my hopes up, and walk quickly past all of the shopping weirdos to the automotive section, where I find you! Wait, no I don't! A box says "beaded seat cover" on it, sure, but it also says "Ed Hardy."

As I'm pulling out of the parking lot, my gas light comes on. There's a fueling station across the street so I go. While I'm standing there, filling the beast's sizable tank, my eyes wander over to the big red sign adorning an adjacent building. Canadian Tire, it says.

I pay for the fill-up and go inside, and there, among the all-season one-size-fits-most floormats, next to the tough looking looney tunes steering wheel covers, are you, wooden bead seat cover. At last, we can be together in back-supporting harmony. And you are only 15 dollars! Clearly a match made in automotive heaven. I buy you, install you, and we drive off into the sunset, hurtin' no more.

This piece was written and submitted by a Jalopnik reader and may not express views held by Jalopnik or its staff. But maybe they will become our views. It all depends on whether or not this person wins by whit of your eyeballs in our reality show, "Who Wants to be America's Next Top Car Blogger?"