Obsession, Thy Name is Porsche
Credit: Photograph by Peter Yang

You ever wanted something so badly that you didn't know where to stop and ended up doing crazy stuff until you got it and then sat around scratching your head, wondering what the heck you were thinking in the first place? I've felt that kind of itch lots of times. For instance, I once had it for battery-operated handheld calculators from the 1970s, the ones with glowing LED lights, and wound up with 550 of them. These things happen. Most recently, I decided I had to own a Porsche – not a brand-new Porsche, such as you might associate with a hedge fund manager, but an old one, like from the '70s. I was a teenager back then and fell in love with the car's sleek lines, even though I couldn't afford to step onto a Porsche showroom floor. I still can't. But last January it occurred to me that with the country in an economic meltdown, maybe I could be of service to some poor slob who had just lost his job, his house, his wife, and his dog and suddenly found himself needing to unload his beloved vintage Porsche. I set myself a budget of $7,000 and went off to tell my girlfriend about it.

She was down in the basement messing with the laundry. "OK," I was saying, "so the dude will probably start off at like $15,000, but with my knowledge of the Porsche marketplace, I'll be doing some serious price bludgeoning."

She stopped her folding and stood up straight. "What knowledge of the Porsche marketplace? You don't know anything about Porsches."

"Oh, yeah? First of all, you're pronouncing it wrong. It's Porsche, with an 'uh' on the end, OK?"

She started folding again. She said my karma was beginning to stink. She also said, "You better watch yourself," as well as, "Shit, here we go again."

"You don't get it, do you?" I said. "This is the opportunity of a lifetime. I've been online. The market for old Porsches has tanked. Blood's running in the streets. It's like Baron Rothschild said. This is exactly the right time to buy."

"Yeah, well, maybe for somebody. But that's not the point. The point is you'd be far better served by buying a cow for charity from Heifer International."

You see what I'm up against? I wanted to involve her in the hunt for my first Porsche. I wanted her to join in the fun and partake in the now-or-never realization of a dream I'd had since childhood, but clearly that wasn't going to happen. I was on my own.