by Karen Seaboyer

They told me I had to name my car. Every Bug driver I met in a parking lot said I had to name my car. “But it’s not a pet,” I’d counter. “No,” they’d confirm, “It’s a Beetle. And it should have a name.”

I decided I had to drive it awhile to get to know its personality before any christening took place. And since that wasn’t the smoothest learning curve (recall bunny-hopping, stalling, public humiliation), it was getting difficult to think of a moniker. Or at least, one that showed affection.

roe-coverThe tape deck that came with the car was looping one of my favourite albums – such a favourite that I still had it in cassette format as well as CD and, indeed, vinyl. Jackson Browne’s Running on Empty. It was the first album I ever bought. I was in Grade Six at that time and it imprinted on me for life.

Well, Running on Empty was all about life on the road and the adventures and emotions that world brings. I had a feeling that life on the road with this little car was going to provide a few adventures and emotions of its own. I began drawing comparisons and, thus, it was henceforth known as Jackson Yellowe.

  • Both Jacksons originated in Germany. The singer was born in Heidelberg.
  • Both Jacksons are icons of the ’70s to me, but had significant presence in the ’60s.
  • They were both pretty cute.
  • Running on Empty. Oh, yes. It was a theme.
  • My first album. My first car.
  • I purchased the car for my birthday, October 1. Jackson B. was born on October 9. That doesn’t really have much to do with anything, but it’s kind of neat.

The addition of the Wonderbug arrived later. Frankly, it was a wonder I managed to negotiate a single hill in all of greater Vancouver. But now, I can drive anything.