Before there was Bill Nye, there was Mr. Wizard. Don Herbert's TV persona was a compelling and cheerfully watchable advocate for interesting science education for Baby Boomers, making the laws of nature seen comprehensible and fun in a space-race world.

The key to his success was that he explained things well — his lessons were simple demonstrations of significant scientific truths. This ability to disseminate clearly is an exceedingly rare resource in the modern world. As things grow ever more complicated and the need to make life more understandable increases, the ability to do so has clearly not kept up.


Sometimes it's hard to avoid the sense that it's that way on purpose, that certain people promote obfuscation and confusion to sell a certain point of view. Why explain how computers work if it just means you're out of your IT job? Why acknowledge the important details of useful legislation when you're busily attacking it? And if you're one of those same Baby Boomers, why carry a facade of disdain for station wagons when we know, thanks to ThirdPedalGirl, just why you REALLY prefer crossovers like the upcoming Crosstour?

Once upon a time, a child was conceived. In the rush of happiness and relief that followed the end of World War II, many babies were made, and our little case study - let's call him Carl - was one of them.

Carl rode home from the hospital clutched in his mother's arms, his father driving carefully and steadily. Carl grew quickly, fed on whole milk, bacon, and eggs for breakfast, a peanut butter sandwich on Wonder Bread for lunch, and meat and potatoes for supper.

When Carl was 3, his little sister was born and when he was 7, his father bought him a puppy and bought his mother a station wagon.

All family vacations were spent on the road in this station wagon. His mother loved it, and his father loved it because it made his wife happy and it kept her from complaining that Judy down the street had a nicer car.

When Carl was 12, he'd sit in the driver's seat and pretend he was driving.

When Carl learned to drive, he learned to do so in his mother's station wagon.

When Carl finally screwed up his courage to ask Suzanne for a date, she said yes, and he picked her up in his mother's station wagon.

After a few weeks of "going steady" with Suzanne, Carl parked the station wagon up on the hill above town, wrapped his arms around Suzanne, and whispered in her ear, "It'll be ok, honey. I'll be gentle." He laid her down across the seat, unzipped his pants, and proceeded to fail spectacularly.

Suzanne was too much of a sweet girl to laugh at him, though, and they rode home in silence. A few weeks later, she began seeing Thomas, who had one of those new-fangled European cars, the one with a double vowel in the name.

Carl went off to college, where he discovered the peace movement and marijuana. But he never forgot his humiliation in the front seat of his mother's station wagon. Ever.

And that, my friends, is why Baby Boomers do not buy station wagons, and why abominations such as the Honda Crosstour exist.