By on December 15, 2011

Ok here’s the situation. I have a brother who hasn’t done anything since Jimmy Carter was in office. For over 30 years he has been sponging off my parents. Free room. Free board. Free allowance. Although the most painful part of it all for me is the free car.

Every car that has been donated to Bum Brother has become landscape architecture. They were all over-engineered cars.

First there was a Toyota Celica that he managed to destroy. Then an Acura Vigor. A bit over two years ago he got a 1994 Toyota Camry Wagon from my brother. One maintenance overhaul plus 15 years of granny style driving yielded a whole 30 months of pack-rat storage and mechanical neglect by the do-nothing bastard.

Now we’re getting mom a new car. Which means that Bum Brother stands to inherit a 2002 Toyota Camry. It’s banged up and all. But damn it! Even in a rough state they are worth at least $5000. My thinking is this.

I have a 1993 Subaru Legacy that I rarely drive. Why not give him that to destroy and sell the other two for Mom. I would put the value of the Subaru at around $1500 and although it’s in excellent shape, I’m willing to donate it to an unworthy cause.

If it were up to me I would make him use public transit and walking shoes. But it’s not. So what should I do?

Steve Says:

There is an old saying that goes, “You can lead a horse to water. But you can’t make it drink.”

Well, the same is also true for jackasses.

I would do the following…

1) Look out for your Mom. Get your ‘Bum Brother’ the cheap ride and sell off the Camrys.

2) Arrange to have maintenance done on specific intervals so that the bum is involved with the car’s care as little as possible.

3) Hopefully your mom lives to be a centenarian. But once everything is said and done, cut off all contact with the brother and go live the rest of your life.

Our best to your mom, and our condolences to your situation.

Sajeev Says:

I wouldn’t even bother, because I am sure the repercussions aren’t worth it. Do you really want to piss off your brother AND the people that enable him to be the beacon of light he’s become today?

Probably not. I only have skin in the game if this guy might ruin a Panther. Since he’s not…go ahead and destroy a Camry. You’ll be glad you overlook it’s value, and concentrate more on the value of your sanity.

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53 Comments on “New or Used: Old Horses And Bum Brothers...”

  • avatar


    Thanks for my best laugh of the week so far!!! about only having skin in the game unless there was a Panther involved. I do’nt quite get the Panther thing, but that did it. I am going to have to start photographing them so that maybe, just maybe, I will come to understand Panther love a teensy bit better. (You can see some of my car photography at

    Excellent advice from Steve, as usual.

    • 0 avatar

      Panther Porn?

    • 0 avatar

      FWIW, I used to really want a Crown Vic ever since I drove my friend’s mom’s 85ish (big box – not big jelly bean) Crown Vic LTD. It was ginormous, but I loved it. His dad was willing to sell it for like $900, but I didn’t think it was worth it as it was in very rough shape and was the family bicycle. Everybody’d had a ride, in more ways than one, in that thing.

      I have to say, for no particular reason, that my favorites are the generation of which the MY 1993 was a part.

    • 0 avatar

      To understand them, you must own one. Renting or borrowing does not give one enough time to acquire the taste. However, like good beer or heroin, once the taste is acquired you will never loose the desire for more.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve always suspected that. I have the same thing for small wagons.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey, I think some of us are prone to Panther Love without ownership – I adored the rental Town Car I had this summer. On the other hand, my grandparents had the same Crown Victoria from the time I was born until I was 20, so there might be some pretty serious residual nostalgia.

  • avatar

    I agree w/ Steve. Look out for Mom. Sell the Camrys and make sure she gets the dough.

    Good luck!

  • avatar

    Tell him to bum a ride from his OWS buddies.

  • avatar

    I have a brother like that too. Mom recently bought him and his girlfriend a Dodge Caliber. :-( Luckily, my brother has no licence due to back child support (it’s all shamefully Jerry Springer really) and his girlfriend is very responsible other than being with him! He mostly sponges off her, but Mom makes regular cash contributions.

    But I second Sajeev – STAY OUT OF IT! I have tried to help them automotively in the past and it is not worth the head and heartache.

  • avatar

    STAY AWAY!! LEAVE IT ALONE!! Even if you do make any money with your plan, who will wind up with it? That’s right, your mother will end up giving the cash to your brother who will burn it up on cigarettes and beer…or video games…or pokemon cards…whatever.

  • avatar

    “You can lead a horse to water. But you can’t make it drink.”

    You can lead a horse to water but a pencil must be lead.

  • avatar

    Off topic – but isn’t the horse’s ass Barry Young (a talk radio host in Phoenix)?

    Carry on…

  • avatar

    Run, don’t walk from this particular CF. If your mom is “okay” with having to deal with a freeloader, let her. Watch out for her, but the less you are involved in her and your brother’s affairs the better.

    The Subaru will inevitably break down and he will blame you and tear a big rift in your family. It doesn’t sound like there is any love lost between you and your brother (I don’t want to read much into it, but context clues lead me in this direction), but this is not something you should deal with.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      The Subaru will inevitably break down and he will blame you

      This! If you choose his car for him and give it to him, you become responsible for his automotive well-being. I’m pretty sure that’s a never ending obligation.

  • avatar

    You go right ahead and take Mom’s car. You’d do that wouldn’t you! There is nothing I can do that shows to you how on my own I am, is there?! The damn Camry is a freakin’ TEN YEARS OLD, but you don’t even think THAT POS is good enough for me, do you! That is so YOU!

    Everything is about you! You have a cars, “look at my Subaru!”. You have a wife, “isn’t she beautiful?” You have a family, you get everything handed to you and you think you earned it because you work? Really? You think you got it all by your own work?

    No one owns anything, bro! I refuse to work because I will not be just a cog in the wheel of capitalist pigs! I will not play along with this idea that they get to own everything, but I only get some kind of minimum wage they decided I deserve! They won’t pay me, bro! They won’t pay me what I am worth!

    While you have been sucking up all the oxygen in the family with all your successes, I have been living at home, taking care of Mom. You think that’s easy? If it wasn’t for me, she would be living by herself! Who do you think is going to take care of her if I am living, like you, off on my own? Who is going to get her beer and cigarettes when she runs out? Who is going to scrape the corns on her feet? Who is going to clean after her old cat? Brother DUDE, you are so lucky I am living at home and you don’t have to!

    I get nothing but scraps from her! Have you ever visited longer than a couple of hours a month? You have no freaking idea how hard it is to live with an old lady with severe flatulence! Every morning that kitchen smells like butt!

    I have to listen to her tell me how GREAT you are! I have to listen to her tell me how other boys give their moms lots of cash to travel! I have to listen to her complain about how her beautician keeps forgetting about the moles on her scalp! I’m dying here, bro, and all you can do is complain?

    We’e talking about a freaking decade old piece of crap! You don’t even think I’m worth more than a damn Camry? Up yours! You have hated me ever since I told Mom about your stash and your porn mags.

    Get a freaking clue!

    • 0 avatar

      2 years of lurking, but had to register to say this is golden.

    • 0 avatar

      I love hearing from the other side of the grass.

    • 0 avatar

      Priceless … you should contribute more of your writing to the site.

      I’ll definitely have to show this to my wife since she has a brother just like that which she has had a back-and-forth all week between him and her parents because they bolted for Florida and left him all alone.

      Would you believe he actually wants all the money back he has contributed from his unemployment check back so he can strike out on his own, bahhhwahhhh. The dude, 32 yrs old, thinks he contributed $50-60K to the family’s finances so far; but he sure has forgotten, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, it’s insurance, maintenance and gas, food, heat, water, and last but not least … all the booze he drinks that his parents pay for. Did I forget to say he has a Bachelors in Law Enforcement. He’s sitting at home waiting for grandma and grandpa’s inheritance. Once he burns through that in no time at all, then what? I’m thankful my wife sees through it all and won’t enable him one bit.

    • 0 avatar
      Sajeev Mehta and Steve Lang

      This definitely deserves the unofficial TTAC comment of the week award.

      Wow! Very well done!

    • 0 avatar

      “Who is going to scrape the corns on her feet?”

      It is for statements like this why I love TTAC so much!

      BTW, mom always liked you best.

  • avatar

    who’s mug is that on the equestrian gluteus maximus?

  • avatar

    Should’ve just traded the Camry in to the dealer for whatever pittance they’d agree to pay. Then it’s gone, discussion over.

    Definitely begin cutting off all ties. Sadly Mom is not going to be around forever and he is going to be looking for a door to show up at.

  • avatar

    Although I feel like I would try and sell the Camry if I were in your position, I have to agree with Sajeev that the point is moot. It seems as though your brother has maintained his parasitic lifestyle for some time now, so trying to go through with the plan is unlikely to gain any momentum from your family members.

  • avatar

    “You can lead a horse to water. But you can’t make it drink.”

    True. But it might be fun to throw him into the trough every once in awhile.

  • avatar

    Let it go man, meddling won’t solve anything. Your mother is as much at fault as your brother and like a dysfunctional marriage the relationship won’t change until one or the other of them has had enough. Attempting to interfere will only lead to resentment which could damage your long term relationship with your brother after he (hopefully) snaps out of whatever funk he is in. If your bro is bankrupting your mother that would be one thing but a beat up Camry just isn’t worth the headache.

  • avatar

    Which is Cain and which one Abel or is that an inappropriate analogy?

  • avatar

    I would stay out of this one. All you will do is fire up the miscellaneous family resentments from out of left field. Keep your Subaru and let Bum Brother decimate the Toyota. Don’t throw your Subaru to the trash heap.

  • avatar

    I misread the title the first time, thinking it said “Bum Buddy”. Now that would have probably started a completely different line of conversations on this thread ……

  • avatar

    Dear Brother-of-a-Bum,

    This is all really between your parents and your brother. Ignoring the entire situation might be your very best plan.

    However, if you like the Camry yourself, you might propose a deal to your parents, where you trade your Subie for it (with some cash, maybe) and they give your former Subie to your brother. Nobody’s out anything that they wouldn’t be willing to be out, anyway.

    It might be a good idea if you kept a spare set of keys and you and each sibling stole the car for a few hours every 4 to 6 months and gave it a bath and an oil change. But that’s really above and beyond. It would keep him in these donated cars longer, which would probably allow your parents to sell cars when they upgrade, as opposed to donating them, which would save them a couple bucks… probably to lavish on your brother. No good deed goes unpunished.

    What’s needed here is an intervention that he’s not going to get (either by the parents or The Uncaring Universe, at least until the parents stop shielding him from The Uncaring Universe).

    You’re going to be happier if you just forget about your brother and ignore the way he sponges off your parents. Put your full attention into your own family, your parents (ignoring the brother), the siblings that you admire and the things you find rewarding.

  • avatar

    Get in your Subaru, crank “I Ran (So Far Away)” by Flock of Seagulls and lay a sweet 4 wheel burnout in front of your brother after he ruins that Camry.

    • 0 avatar

      No way thats going to happen, we have a 95 Legacy and try as I might it won’t break the tires free, even on gravel. Probably a combination of the 1st gear ratio and AWD, as it is a fairly peppy car once you wind it out.

  • avatar

    The dynamic between your parents and the mooch has been going on for so long that there’s no way you’re going to change it. Like others have said even if you keep that value away from your bro now, it will eventually end up with him anyway.

    You seem to want to make a point of not giving anything to him (maybe with a glimmer of hope he’ll finally see why that’s the case) but it’s not going to do any good. You’re just ruffling feathers and causing conflict and it won’t do you any good in the end. They may well point the finger at you for starting trouble.

  • avatar

    Your Subaru gives you years of good service, is in great shape, and has been (and is) a reliable car. What did it do to deserve being beaten/neglected to death by a social parasite?

    Save your sanity and your trusty Subaru by staying out of this mess. VanillaDude summed up your brother’s likely perspective quite nicely, and you and the Subaru will be much better off leaving the Camry to it’s sad fate.

    If you feel compelled to part with the Subaru just list it on Craigslist; it will make a great lesbian Winnebago for some deserving couple.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the Subaru-lesbian link is way, way overdone. Most of the straight women I know drive Subarus, most of them Foresters (I live in the Northeast, among other things, they like the AWD). My lone lesbian friend drives a pickup, which she uses for hauling stuff to and from her farm. (As a teenager, she restored an old Beetle.)

      • 0 avatar

        I think it depends on where you are and I think where it’s true are mainly lipstick Lesbians whom often own a large dog. Dykes tend to own the truck and come across a very butch.

        That said, if anything, back in the early oughts, it was largely the Outback wagon that was popular with the Lesbian crowd and I knew a gay guy who worked for, may still in fact for the Tacoma News Tribune who drove an Outback wagon himself and even he called it a Lesbian mobile.

    • 0 avatar

      LOL… I always saw that about a Subaru as well. Can’t have anything too manly.

      Anyway, that brother is a bum. I don’t understand parents that keep their kids around? Someone kick them out when their 17.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. I can’t understand how letting a vehicle you’ve taken pains to keep in good shape go to a wasted cause like this is an option. Let the Camry go. It’s someone else’s appliance, and doesn’t sound like it was cared for well.

      Of course, I’d prefer to see the guy not get a free car at all, but that doesn’t seem to be on the table.

      For the record, the lesbians I have known have driven a Nissan Versa hatch, first-gen CR-V LX, a red early-90s Celica, a Ford Ranger, and a Jeep Compass. I’ve known four Forester owners, one a (straight) guy and three straight women.

  • avatar

    I mst stick up for Barry Young- he is not the horse’s ass,

  • avatar

    As for the bum brother situation, leave this one be and let your mother donate her 2002 Camry to your bum brother and be done with it. Remember, it’s now almost 10 years old and is scuffed and beaten up around the edges so let it go, it won’t necessarily go for what it might go for if in good shape, Camry or no and that means it may not go for as much as $5K in its present shape.

    That said, it’s time to give that SOB some really tough love by just giving him the cold shoulder as much as possible, but preface it the first time out that you are doing it out of love. He needs to respect you and your life and that means no communication, no help, no anything as long as he continues on with this mooching lifestyle he’s chosen for himself.

    I’ve had to threaten to disown my oldest sister if she didn’t cut the crap about her fundamentalism and her negative stance against gays as that meant it affected not only me, but my niece Ann who’s a Lesbian herself. Her stance was, you are welcome, but not your partner into my house. BS I say.

    Thankfully, it seems she’s shied away from that, knowing how it might sever her relationship with the rest of the siblings and/or Mom.

  • avatar

    BTW, exceptional post, Ronnie Schreiber.

  • avatar
    V-Strom rider

    “You can lead a horse to water. But you can’t make it drink.”

    Or, as Dorothy Parker once said when challenged to use the word “horticulture” in a sentence:

    You can lead a whore to culture but you can’t make her think!

  • avatar

    “I’m willing to donate it to an unworthy cause.”

    A great quote I am going to remember.

  • avatar

    “Mom, I have an idea: I will give my Subaru to brother, that way you can sell the Toyota and put some money back into the bank for yourself. What do you think?”

    The answer of this question will tell you what you should do. Unless Mom enthusiastically salutes this flag that you have run up the pole, walk away from this one. Mom is the one you care about here, so don’t do something that will make her more upset or stressed, even if keeping her stress down means she continues to coddle your loser brother.

  • avatar
    George B

    A 2002 Toyota Camry isn’t worth fighting over. Instead, you could treat it as an automotive longevity experiment. Replace all the Camry filters and fluids with the best available and let your worthless brother drive the car in zero maintenance welded hood mode. Are oil changes really necessary? We’ll find out. It’s about 10 years old now, so it’s possible that zero maintenance makes no difference in life before oxidized paint makes it a beater.

    You could also get copies of the keys from your Mom and practice guerrilla random acts of kindness. “Borrow” the Camry, do a little maintenance, and return the car to a slightly different parking place just to mess with your brother’s mind.

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