Nightmare Fuel


See that picture? That’s the Uniroyal Tire. It used to scare the crap out of me as a child. And not just because it was a giant tire on the side of the freeway. Yes, the idea of a giant tire rolling onto the freeway and crushing us as we passed scared me to no end, but also what the tire implied.
Giant tire implied giant car.
Giant car implied giant man.
And of course giant man was going to eat us all.
I imagined him as a big, burly type, complete with beard, flannel shirt, and giant axe. Maybe he just got a flat and was coming for the tire and while retrieving it, decided to make a snack out of a couple hundred people, picking up a few dozen cars at random and shaking people out like an open potato chip bag.
Of course this notion was ridiculous. But when you’re a five year old with an active imagination and you’re surrounded by adults who have a tendency to not explain anything, you’re left to fill in the gaps yourself. I was well into my twenties when I realized I still had anxiety each time I drove past that tire. For almost a year, it was along my commute going to and from Ann Arbor. It was about 6 months in before my mind finally got acclimated to the idea that the tire was not going to come off its hinges and begin rolling down I-94, crushing cars that were either too slow to get away or steamrolling cars going in the opposite direction. No flannel shirt-wearing giant showed up and I never spotted a giant car, either.


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