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Yes, I’m hooked.  You too?  I mean, who could resist those hamsters from da ‘hood?

Irresistible Rodents

Actually, it wasn’t the hamsters at all for me.  I fell in love on a trip to the mall.  Do tell?  Okay.


I can’t remember what I was doing that day in the mall.  My bank is located there, in the Station Mall, on Bay Street downtown.  I had parked on the other side of the mall and was walking through it, just window browsing.  And you know how sometimes they have cars in the mall, for draws around the holidays or maybe new models from the dealership?  The dealership was showing off the new Kia Soul.


But I’m not a car guy.  Really, no way.  I can’t tell the bumper from the brake pad.  Seriously.  I was a completely misguided youth in my day — no more interest in car design than in their mechanics.  And so I’ve always felt a little inept in discussing either old — or new — car designs.  I couldn’t discern a Ferrari from a Ford, or a Chrysler from a Citroen.  Really.  It’s true.

My Dad's Old '57 Chevy

There was only one kind of car that I could pick out from the crowd — an ’88 Saab 900 — and only because it was the first kind of car I’d ever owned.  Why a Saab?  Have you ever been to Rhode Island?

I spent my undergraduate years in Rhode Island.

Every third car in Providence is a navy blue Saab.  Really.  Go there.  You’ll see.

Station Mall

And so when I walked into Station Mall downtown and stumbled upon a fiery red Kia Soul, with its distinctive lines and seductive curves, I was stunned to feel so drawn to the vehicle.

A Fiery Red Soul

Seriously it was really weird.  But I couldn’t deny the thrill I had sitting inside and gripping the steering wheel in my hands.  I looked down and to my right and thought about how modern and hip the console was.  Enough safety features to have won some cool awards; awards that would sit on shelves and mirror other awards already gathered for design.

Black Soul

Oh, and dark tinted glass standard on every model for the paranoiac in us all.


Sitting inside, gripping the steering wheel and peering through the darkened glass, I tried to figure out why the car felt like ‘home’.  This was a car I could drive, I thought to myself.  This was a car that I could feel safe in, during the winter storms and in the dark night.

Safety Awards

But why did I feel this connection?


Was this car really that much better than any other car that I had recently seen?  I had kind of been looking at cars for some time now.

I was thoughtful for a long time.  I walked home, trying to understand my emotions.  I didn’t just like the car.  I loved it — and I had never, never loved a car before.  Like I said, I had never really felt drawn to them.  They were simply utilitarian tools used to get me from place to place.  I got in them; I got out of them.  I never gave them much thought besides.


But then I saw the commercials.  I understood.  I realized why I loved the Kia Soul so much.  I was their Ideal Customer.

You probably think I’m mistaken.  I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials, too.  Those super-hip, ultra-phat, super-sick hamsters.  What?  You mean you don’t know what “super-hip, ultra-phat, super-sick” means?  I guess you’re just not cut out to own the Kia Soul!

Here’s what I mean.

Those cute little hamsters that you see driving that hot little Soul around town are from ‘da ‘hood, right?  So the Soul is really marketed to the young, urban and hip, right?


The Soul is marketed to me.  It’s been designed to appeal to my tastes, not the tastes of an ultra-hip urbanite who listens to loud rap while cruising through ‘da ‘hood.  Those floodlights at my feet, those extra speakers with the disco lights, those longs sinewy lines along the sunroof — they are the details that professional forty-somethings ostensibly approaching mid-life would love.

And then how am I supposed to be relating to those commercials?  Wouldn’t I be kind of weirded out by hamsters in hoodies pumping hip-hop music from rolled-down windows with smug-kind-of “Don’t Mess With Me” looks on their faces?


Of course not!  They are so darned cute!

And besides, I’d love to spend MY midlife crisis cruising down the street pumping super-phat music from my system — wouldn’t you?

I mean, how many super-sick twenty-somethings are really going to be caught dead in a small sized hatchback that comes in a color called “java”?

Do I own one?  Unfortunately not.  I’ve got other priorities by now.  And so what about the Kia Soul?  Well, if the experience has taught me one thing, it’s that it’s time to think about a newer, better, phatter vehicle!

"You Can Go For This, Or You Can Go For That!"