75,000, a sticker and a nickname

Every car needs a nickname.

But for my Saturn Ion, I couldn’t come up with a good one.

Not as good as the nickname for my old car, the “6” – a nickname I gleaned from its make and model, the Pontiac 6000.

My blue-green Saturn Ion didn’t lend itself very well to any sort of surname or sobriquet.  I tried calling it “The Ion,” “Ol’ Blue,” “10” (10 being an association of the letters “IO” in Ion), “Imra Ardeen” (five points to anyone who can get that reference without using Google or Wikipedia), but nothing stuck.  I went through various female names – Monica, Erica, Rita, Tina, Sandra, Jessica, all the names from Mambo No. 5, but it doesn’t work unless I play a sampled Pérez Prado backing track.

I also resolved that, once this car reached 75,000 miles of travel (albeit 60,000 miles of that were from prior ownership), I would affix its first decal or bumper sticker, thus denoting full and complete emotional and financial attachment to the car.

I still couldn’t come up with a nickname, though.  In a last-minute fit of inspiration, I looked through my car for anything distinctive.  All I saw was the floor of my front passenger’s seat littered with old soda bottles and disposed 35mm film boxes, individualized denotations of Diet Pepsi and Kodachrome and Efke –

Hmm.  Kodachrome.

I played with the name for a minute.

And another minute.

It’s not like Kodak’s going to make any more Kodachrome anytime soon.

No, I couldn’t call the car “Kodachrome.”  If I did that, I’d be humming that Paul Simon song every time.  And that gets old.

But what about … “Car-dachrome?”



The more I thought about it, the more I liked it.  The car’s a light blue with a hint of green, it’s distinctive, it’s being driven by a photographer, it was made in America by Americans earning a union wage – and until I can think of a better nickname, or even if I want to, “Cardachrome” it is.

And of course, now that it’s passed the  75,000 threshold, it needs a commemorative bumper sticker or window cling.  I’m thinking more of a window cling, out the rear driver’s side window, so as to not distract me when I’m driving.  That, and I couldn’t get my mitts on a Jericho Drive-In bumper sticker at the moment, since the Jericho’s closed for the winter.

I went through a box of old decals and bumper stickers and window clings that I’ve acquired over the years.  Hmm… here’s a Revolution Hall bumper sticker.  I could use this – yeah, and the people at Brown’s Brewing would not be happy with me advertising a club that doesn’t exist any more.

Oh wait, here’s a bumper sticker for radio station WFMU.  I enjoy the alternative radio station as much as the next guy, but I just can’t pick up the New York City station from my car.  Especially when I’m in Albany at the time.

Then I found an old Hamilton College window cling that I received as a gift for attending my 15th reunion.  Okay, that was ten years ago, but it looks as if the cling still has some adhesive stickiness to it.  A quick wipe to clean the car window, and an application – and Cardachrome has now been personalized.

This is good.  Every car should have a nickname.  At least one that won’t automatically make you think of an old Paul Simon song.  Especially if – and after six months of ownership, I have to admit it – I love this car like a rock.

Oh dang it.  All right, I gotta do this.  “When I was a little boy… and the devil would call my name…”