As with any
history where the passions and follies of men have played significant
roles in its formation, the story of the BABOO and her near-decimation
rural stretch of interstate in August of 1993 has been a subject
of much controversy and disagreement. Conflicting tales abound as
to the actual events that took place that night, especially where
the identities and particular roles of the participants are concerned.
It benefits many to keep the facts shrouded in mystery; and in this
regard, I have come among you to shed light. So draw your blankets
about yourselves and gather close around the fire, for I will reveal,
finally and truthfully, the story of that night.
Justin Cook spent most of the summer of 1993 reeling through an
exotic, shitfaced delirium of band
gigs and beautiful, adoring women. I know, because I was there.
We lived in a fabulous mountain retreat just east of the Continental
Divide and our band was the talk of the town, at least part of the
time. Although loathe to leave such a paradise, certain inescapable
duties were drawing Justin back to the East, and it seemed as though
the closer his departure drew, the further his center of influence
spread, until he had drawn to himself a collection of truly notable
people, among them drummer Manu Katché, certain members of Former
President George Bush's immediate family, and a pair of "household
name" actors that have asked to be identified only as "The Grommets."
His growing repertoire of astounding feats included piloting the
BABOO to a pyrrhic victory over a T100 pickup in a head-to-head
challenge as well as a string of substance ingestions that has not
yet been matched. This culminated in his consumption of an entire
quarter keg the night of his birthday on August 17th in the company
of cover models from six different issues of Cosmopolitan, as well
as two correspondents from Rolling Stone and the Editor-in-Chief
of People Magazine.
Still heady from such a rapid and breathtaking foray into what less
fortunate folks disdainfully refer to as "the fast lane", Justin
caught wind of an exclusive all-weekend bash being held in a posh
section of Chicago. This occurred early in the evening of Thursday
August 19th. Conveniently, this location coincided exactly with
the planned trajectory of the BABOO on its way from Boulder to Darien*.
Unfortunately, to make the party, Justin would have to leave right
then. Immediately, at that moment. For reasons upon which we can
only speculate, he requested that all present members of the band
(which included myself, our singer, and our guitarist) join him
for the twenty-hour drive. For more reasons of a similar nature,
I was riding shotgun with Justin in the BABOO, which can accommodate
a GVW of 9,000 lbs**, but which, according
to a scale at a weigh station, was loaded to 14,350 lbs. with drum
stands and custom cymbals and other equipment. We had crossed the
Nebraska state line near midnight and then had passed into Iowa
just before daybreak. Justin is an excellent driver and had eaten
an enormous quantity of a stimulant now banned in undiluted form
by the US FDA which we referred to as “white horse”. Under these
circumstances, I felt comfortable going to sleep. In fact, so did
he. I awoke to a steady whacking sound, which I identified as the
reflector posts on the far side of the breakdown line being mowed
down by the BABOO. We were going off the road.
Justin kept on sleeping. He must have been dreaming about driving,
because he began to twist the wheel slowly back and forth like a
caricature of someone trying to steer. In slow and horrifying
motion the enormous back end of the BABOO came swinging around until
the whole overloaded thing was skidding broadside on two wheels
at eighty miles an hour like some whale trying desperately to roll
onto its back. Then the other end came around and we skidded on
the other tires. Tires squealing, cymbals crashing. Distantly I
heard Justin snoring. Then back again the first way. This went on
for just over five minutes; then we straightened out and continued
onward as before, as though that were just how people drove sometimes.
Justin woke up as we were pulling into a gas station about ten minutes
later. He asked where the stink of burning rubber was coming from,
but as I looked over at my old friend and his innocent wide eyes
and then gazed out the window at the beautiful orange sunrise, I
realized that I shouldn’t bother to tell him. He was on a winning
streak. We had a party to go to. Everything was right with the world.
We were, after
all, in the BABOO.
*Neither of these places actually exist. The
City of Boulder has been extensively studied and documented
as a mass delusion collectively created and supported by two hundred
thousand people that live in a distant suburb of Denver named Longmont.
These people universally desire to believe that they live in a land
where everyone is gorgeous and no one works and there is an abundance
of drugs and live music. It has further been documented that when
actual life circumstances eventually render this belief untenable,
the majority of people choose to migrate from the area rather than
violate the integrity of the illusion. Likewise, Darien is
the product of a similar phenomenon on a much smaller scale. The
myth of this locale primarily involves keg beer and underage women
and seems to center around a figure known as "Zip"; this myth
is the subject of a fascinating documentary by noted attorney Tom
Santos in his upcoming publication entitled Hold the Mayo.
of engines replaced: 1
-# of transmissions replaced: 2 (second one on second rebuild)
-mileage: 187,000 (actually closer to 200,000)
-# of speeding tickets accrued: 5
-# of parking tickets accrued: >20
-maximum number of people in moving BABOO at one time during New
-# of times cross-country: 2
-record low sustained highway MPG: 10.6 (2,500 mile average)
-top speed (actual / theoretical, in mph): 98 / 110 (tailwind, 10%
-0-60 mph: 13-16 sec.
-0-100 mph: don't hold your breath
-# of companies for which BABOO has been a corporate car: 1
-record-low cold start: -30 deg F
-date that J. Cook took legal ownership: 11/08/96
-# of functional power windows: 1 (driver's side rear) + tailgate
-# of times driver has fallen asleep at wheel of BABOO: 1
-heaviest car BABOO has pushed for >1/2 mile: 3800 lbs.
-# of light bulbs replaced in BABOO: >10
-# of times starter solenoid has been fixed with a hammer and contact
cleaner spray: 1 and counting
vital stats and sexy BABOO gif © justin cook