Idol Chatter

I’m not in any way a gearhead. Give me spirituality over sparkplugs any day of the week. But I do love listening to National Public Radio’s “Car Talk.” So, yesterday when the Tappet brothers, Tom and Ray Magliozzi, said that they had a very interesting letter from Sanjay Shah (a Hindu listener from California) my ears perked up.

“Hey guys, I have a macabre question,” started the missive. “I’m both Hindu and a car enthusiast. “

Hindus customarily get cremated when we die. I’m putting together my will and would like to require my ashes to be deposited into the gas tank of my favorite car,” Shah wrote. “Then I want the car driven down my favorite river road in California. This is how I want my ashes poetically spread. My question is: Will this also poetically destroy the car? If so, I need to make sure the car is then driven directly to a Pick-N-Pull [auto dismantlers].”

The brothers agreed that, most likely, the ashes would get stuck in the air filter and that the car would go for a while. But a tow truck would be needed to help the car back to the garage once the filter gets clogged. One of the brothers suggested that Shah simply ask to have his urn sit in the back seat. But brother number two insisted that, this being Shah’s last will and testament, his ashes should be able to be spread out in the exact manner he wished.

They also suggested that he could attach the open urn to the hood of the car, allowing his ashes to be spread amongst his favorite landscape as the car drove down the road.

The brothers answered the question just like any other question they receive–seriously, but with a good-natured, respectful sense of humor–the very reason I listen to the show. Not only did I find it to be refreshing fare on radio waves often full of shock jocks trying to get a guffaw from the latest “odd news” story, but it stood out as a surreal moment of religious pluralism.

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