Sunday Story: "Vignettes Of The Recent Recall" by Jack Baruth

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
sunday story vignettes of the recent recall by jack baruth

DETROIT, MI — A spokesperson for Generic Motors confirmed today that the company will be recalling approximately 2.34 million vehicles built between 2008 and 2013 for a defect in which activating the seat heaters can cause a certain chemical reaction in the driver and passenger seats, leading to sudden changes in the foam seat padding and spring structure that can lead to a loss of control.

0. Engineering Division, Generic Motors — “Tell me how this happens again?”

“It’s complicated. Sort of. When you hit the seat heater button twice in a row within a second or so, the controller shorts out and causes the heating element to leak one of the chemicals into the foam. It makes the foam heat to about 500 degrees Celsius, at which point it escapes the seat through, ah, the circular aperture in the spring plate.”

“Which means…”

“Which, ah, means that there’s what you can think of as a hot jet of, well, a plasma kind of foam, almost, that exits in a columnar fashion from the top of the lower seat bolster near where it joins the hinge.”

“A hot jet of foam.”


“Shaped like a column.”


“That exits where exactly?”

“Well, in the cases we’re seeing in the field, it tends to hit the driver or passenger in the, ah, perineal-rectal area.”

“What you’re telling me is that hitting the seat heater button twice in a row —”

“Which, I want to remind you, is not recommended in the manual.”

“— Performing this non-recommended action results in the customer being fucked in the ass by a burning hot column of seat foam.”

“Depending on seating position.”

“How ‘depending’ are we talking here?”

“In three of the cases, the, ah, what we’re calling the ‘foam penetrator’ or, informally, the ‘foam-doe’ actually struck the customer in the perineum, causing nothing more than a brief hospitalization.”

“And the others? What happened?”

“We saw either vaginal or anal penetration in the others.”

“How many?”

“We’ve been able to identify fewer than, ah, three hundred cases.”

“You’re telling me that our product has raped three hundred customers.”

Fewer than three hundred. And every one of whom, I hasten to remind you, performed a non-recommended action with the seat heater button.”

“Jesus. When did we find out.”

“Slightly before Job One.”

SLIGHTLY BEFORE JOB ONE?!?? Didn’t we have a fix?”

“There’s a fix. By changing the resistor in location A23 in the schematic I sent you to an approved carbon-film model,

we could have completely eliminated the problem. But there was a cost.”

“How much?”

“Eleven cents.”

Eleven cents?

“Multiplied, I remind you, by 2.34 million cars. That’s a quarter-million dollars out of my budget.”

“As opposed to the trillion-dollar judgment we’re facing now.”

“Let me tell you a little parable. When your department overspends by a quarter-million dollars, it’s a ‘you problem’. When our company is hit with a trillion-dollar penalty, it becomes China’s problem.”

“I don’t even understand how that would be the case.”

“The seat heaters were made in China.”

“I thought you said they were made here.”

“Out of Chinese resistors.”

“But you picked the wrong resistor.”

“Because I don’t read Mandarin, obviously.”

* * *

1. Democratic Party Headquarters, Washington D.C. — “Let me get this straight. You’re telling me that the company that we bailed out, that the President specifically mentioned as his greatest economic achievement in his last SOTU, built two million cars that set their occupants’ colons on fire.”

“I don’t think we need to spin it that way. I think we say, listen, the American economy is on fire, the President’s actions lit a fire under the ass of the American economy, and that’s a good thing, but in any recovery, you’ll have the people who, through racism or homophobia, are left behind.”

“So you’re telling me that the people who were killed by what they’re already calling the ‘rape chairs’ were victims of racism or homophobia.”

“No, they’re the perpetrators.”

“You’re serious about this.”

“Absolutely. Listen. Educated, decent people — the people who voted for us, who lead the American opinion — they all buy Toyotas. The only people who actually buy these shitty cars made here in America are those racist rednecks in Mississippi, because they don’t know any better. And none of them are our voters. When they bother to leave their trailers, they actually vote the straight KKK party line.”

“There’s a KKK party line?”

“Well, it’s the Republican party, but the latest Zogby shows that eighty-nine percent of San Francisco residents think the KKK controls the Republican party. Which makes it effectively true.”

“So what’s our spin on this? What do we tell the media to say tomorrow?”

“We say that white-collar non-union employees designed these so-called boo-foo seats and that although the members of the UAW fought them tooth and nail, the corporate scumbags triumphed. And we show footage of the 2012 strike at the plant where these shitboxes were built.”

“But wasn’t that strike because Generic Motors was no longer providing caviar in the employee cafeteria?”

“Strictly speaking, there was still caviar. But you should have seen it. We’re talking small eggs here. But what’s important is that there was a strike.”

“Give me the high concept.”

“The President saved the American worker, but he was betrayed by talk radio.”

“That doesn’t even make any sense.”

“I’m not seeing how that’s a problem.”

* * *

2. Publishing office of Engine Trend magazine, Los Angeles, CA — “Are we going to do a story about this recall?”

“What recall?”

“You know, the whole thing where the talk radio guys put the bad seats in the Generic Motors sedans.”

“Jesus, that sounds terrible. Who let them in the plant?”

“It’s not clear. But I read on Facebook this morning that two-million-plus cars are violently ass-fucking their drivers with a hot spear of burning foam. There have been hundreds of deaths. In one case, a driver drove a seven-seat SUV through a schoolyard full of disabled children before the rest of the car caught fire and the whole thing ended up blowing up an animal shelter somehow.”

“Did we ever review any of these cars?”

“Yes, you did a ‘Face 2 Face’ segment where you said, on camera, that, and I quote, ‘this new ponycar is hot enough to burn your sigmoid colon.'”

“That sounds like I knew this was going to happen.”

“I don’t think that’s a concern. Judging from our YouTube comment analytics, eighty-three percent of viewers think you’re developmentally handicapped.”

“The other seventeen percent?”

“They think you’re Rutledge Wood.”

“That’s encouraging. I like Rut’s work.”

“Who doesn’t?”

“How many pages of ads did Generic buy last month?”

“Inside front cover, inside back, fourteen inside pages, plus two Special Advertising Sections, one of which was entitled ‘Our New Seats Will Fire You Up.'”

“We need to be smart about this. Has anybody here in this office actually seen this so-called seat-dildo-ing happen?”

“Rachel from Accounting had her IUD melted on the way to Starbucks yesterday before she hit a bus stop full of young urban men who were on their way to make a difference in a disaster-affected community.”

“Anybody on the actual editorial staff?”

“Jason saw a gas station explode off the 405 last night when some poor bastard’s seat blew up underneath him as he was driving away from the pump. Said it was momentarily brighter than the sun in July.”

“Has it happened to any of our press cars yet?”

“No, but we —”

“Then it’s not real. Let’s just pretend it hasn’t happened. Let’s face it, the customers need to stop being such whiny bitches. I had a seat problem recently myself.”

“In the —”

“On a British Airways flight. I was in the upstairs lounge of a 747 on the way to the introduction of the PanArabia Triple Turbo SS when I experienced a drip of water from an air conditioner.”


“You’re not kidding. I had them land the plane at Gibraltar and change equipment.”

* * *

3. City Motors, Dubuque, IA — “We got a fax this morning that says we have to stop sale on everything but trucks.”

“I wasn’t aware we had anything but trucks on the lot.”

“We don’t.”

“Narrow escape, if you ask me.”

* * *

4. Republican Party HQ, Washington DC — “Well, gentlemen, the writing is on the wall for the midterms. The way the President’s mishandling this whole rape-seat thing, I don’t see how we can do anything but take control of both houses.”

“I can’t believe we got away with having the talk radio guys sabotage the seats.”

“That didn’t happen, you moron.”

“But Brian Williams said —”

“That was just the Democratic spin! We had nothing to do with it! Do you believe everything you watch on TV?”


“Listen. You’re not totally wrong, though. It was kind of our fault. Under the previous administration, we wrote and enacted the ‘Resistors To China Act’, which we told the press was about ‘resisting China’s economic dominance’ but actually made it illegal for American companies to have resistors made anywhere but China.”

“That sounds like an actively evil thing to do.”

“To the contrary. We obtained twelve thousand yuan in campaign contributions from Chinese resistor makers.”

“That’s how much in our money?”

“I’m not sure. But it doesn’t matter, because the Chinese own all the dollars now and someday you’ll need a shopping basket full of Benjamins to buy one yuan.”

“So what happens now?”

“It’s simple. The President will be forced to fine Generic Motors ten trillion dollars. And that will force them into bankruptcy, so the government will have to loan them twelve trillion dollars.”

“What’s the extra two trillion for?”

“It goes directly to the banks.”

“They’re too big to fail.”

“Exactly. So the government will effectively fine itself money. The UAW will want a piece of the pie, so they’ll be handed another ten percent of the company.”

“But doesn’t combined union and government control spell disaster for an auto company?”

“I’m not sure about that. Didn’t British Leyland do okay?”

“Who were they?”

“The people who made the MGB. Anyway. Generic Motors can’t be put out of business. It’s politically impossible. They’ll continue to build crappy cars in a kind of guaranteed-employment program. That reminds the transplant factories in the South, the ones who pay our salaries, that they’re never more than one big economic crisis from being seized and nationalized, Zimbabwe-style. So they’ll pay us to keep that from happening, while Generic cashes out the Dems and the UAW.”

“That’s how Fairfax County overtook Oakland County as the wealthiest county in America.”

“For a guy who thinks Rush Limbaugh sabotaged seat foam, you’re not that stupid.”

“No, I’m not stupid. But I am cold. Hey, why didn’t the light come on when I hit the seat heaters? Let me try this again.”


* * *

DETROIT, MI — A spokesperson for Generic Motors called the landmark $13T fine for exploding seat foam in its vehicles “fair and balanced”. A representative from the UAW indicated his delight that experienced UAW personnel would be placed in charge of visually inspecting each resistor coming from China. A funeral for the recently-deceased Speaker Of The House, John Bonar, and his assistant was marred by the unexpected explosion of the funeral company’s professional car two miles away from the chilly grave site. In a separate statement, Generic Motors assured customers that they would be able to once again drive their automobiles in as little as seven months, “as new resistors arrive from our valued manufacturing partners.”

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2 of 58 comments
  • Olddavid Olddavid on Apr 08, 2014

    Jack, I'm sorry, but what ever it is bothering you, please take the Rx until all the pills are gone. I used to think of you as the natural heir to Brock at his caustic, cynical best. Perhaps you should find someone else to critique these pieces - pre-publication? Surely I am not the only one noticing this regression. Hope springs eternal, and maybe you've just neglected Red Green's advice to "keep your stick on the ice"? Remember, we're all in this together.

  • 05lgt 05lgt on Apr 15, 2014

    Is all well with our esteemed EIC Pro Tem? I don't think I had to go this long without a JB penned piece when you wrecked the Panther. Pa's got things for you to do. And my mother wants you. I know she does. Jack! Come back, Jack!

  • Abrar Very easy and understanding explanation about brake paint
  • MaintenanceCosts We need cheaper batteries. This is a difficult proposition at $50k base/$60k as tested but would be pretty compelling at $40k base/$50k as tested.
  • Scott ?Wonder what Toyota will be using when they enter the market?
  • Fred The bigger issue is what happens to the other systems as demand dwindles? Will thet convert or will they just just shut down?
  • Roger hopkins Why do they all have to be 4 door??? Why not a "cab & a half" and a bit longer box. This is just another station wagon of the 21st century. Maybe they should put fake woodgrain on the side lol...