All that summer of 1997, I would walk down to her house, about 13 blocks from my old crib, and we would sit on her front porch, talk ourselves out, watch the sun go down, maybe have some Middle Eastern dish, or a frozen strawberry daiquiri. It was a blast.
A couple of years later, after Cupid had received a major gold star on his calendar, I found myself, one Sunday morning, reading the paper on that same front porch, as Marie lounged in her porch swing. “Honey” she said in a lazy drawl, like those who work hard all week and sleep late on Sunday are wont to do, did you hear any of “Car Talk” yesterday?” “No”, I replied, “why do you ask?”. “They read a letter from a guy”, Marie then added ,”that you would have loved.”
It’s a “women are from Venus and men are from Mars” story, told first in a letter written by Dan Edwards, and it goes like this: One fine morning, some years back, Dan was walking his girlfriend to her car, when all of a sudden, she says “I love you” for the first time. Dan, taken aback, probably flustered for words, and from Mars, searches his brain (and heart) for the best thing to say, and does, in my opinion, by looking past his sweetheart, to her needy car, for just a moment, and coming up with the most romantic, ”I am gonna have to fix those rust spots on your car.” Now, as any guy knows, making an offer like this is tantamount, nay, beyond a pedestrian reply such as, oh, saying “I love you too” back to his girlfriend. It’s a committment to do some important work for her, fer God’s sake. An effort that would take time and some serious sweat. As in a whole ball-busting day of hard work. But alas, his girlfriend was not impressed by his comment, and sped off to work, revealing later in the day that she thought his reply was “callous and insufficient “.
Marie knew I would love the story, and we chuckled greatly over this couple’s misunderstanding, and in sum, the trouble men and women can get themselves into, mainly cuz, well, they come from different worlds. They must. I thank God that my wife and I can mostly see little issues like these for what they truly are, that is, rooted in the different ways men and women see the world, and generally, not to be taken too seriously. Our horse laughs, rising above the morning mist on Madison street, then inspired my comment, “Poor Dan, I guess he didn’t say “I love you” right.
Several hours later, after those words had burned into a song, I found Marie again on the porch, and strummed and sang to her my version of the vision. “That’s so good”, she offered kindly,”You should send that to the guys on Car Talk”.
So after making a proper recording of the song, I did just that. And some months later, we were pleased that those wacky car talkin’ brothers, Tom and Ray, played it on their show. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship, and to date, the boys have aired four of my songs, which always results in a spike to my CD sales, and hits to my websites. Click and Clack, you rule.
“Didn’t Say I Love You Right”, which appears on my 2002 CD, “Useful Information”, is likely my second or third most well known song, after “We Talk About Cars”, and “You Are My Folks”, thanks in part to NPR’s Car Talk. The song also made it’s way onto a Car Talk compilation, “Car Talk Car Tunes”. Please accept a free Mp3 download of “Didn’t Say I Love You Right”, here. Here is the original letter, "Love and Rust Spots" as read on CarTalk. Now don’t forget, gentlemen, to tell the woman you love, how much you DO love her, and give her a sweet kiss, as you look deeply into her eyes, and buy her flowers, and chocolates, and THEN go fix the rust spots. Gimme a call, I’ll help ya. I’ve got this brand new killer Makita belt sander, you gotta see it.