Vans. Love ’em or hate ’em, the van has roots in the US cultural imagination. There’s the Mystery Machine, of course.

And Sammy John’s classic 1974 ode to back-seat (back-of-van, actually) sex: “she’s gonna love me in my chevy van and that’s all right with me.” 


Thumbnail image for sammyjohns.jpgand the less sexy but oh-so-practical mini-van (which my friend Celia described once as looking like a dust-buster, and she’s totally right):

Thumbnail image for minivandustbuster.jpgand now, the (former) head obfuscator of New York State Senate, Joe Bruno, adds this van to our collective consciousness:
brunovan.jpgBruno pimped out this van (not a Chevy, alas, thus depriving me of several bad-taste jokes) to the tune of about 50K: leather swivel seats, a conference table, probably red “in flight” lights and a wet bar, too. I knew a boy in my large midwestern high school who had a similarly tricked out set of wheels, although Steve’s van had gold shag on the floor and halfway up the walls. Steve’s primary source of income came from selling dope – and while I don’t think that Bruno had the same revenue stream, you’ve got to wonder what Bruno was thinking when he decided it would be a good idea to create a smoke-filled backroom on wheels.

But on second thought, maybe that’s genius: you get people in the van and simply refuse to stop driving until they agree to your latest plan to keep Albany tied in knots.

Maybe Bruno (and the NY Dems, who now apparently own the GOP’s GMC) could lend this automotive back-room to Barack, who could use it first to drive over Judd Gregg (nothing fatal, just a broken knee or something), as payback for Gregg’s total gotcha on the Commerce gig; and second, perhaps Obama could take Lindsey Graham et al. on a drive-by look-see, so that they could observe first-hand what happened to the country while they played second fiddle in Bush’s Nero orchestra.

So Bruno spent more than what many New Yorkers earn in a year so that he could have a moving clubhouse for men devoted to the art of lining their own pockets in the name of their constituents.

Well, fine. What’s done is done. Bruno’s been indicted on corruption charges and obviously has no sense of how to Make a Vehicular Statement. I mean, we all know what Bruno, clearly, does not – something that millions of suburbanites have had to accept, with sinking hearts and dashed hipster dreams. That unless it’s 1974 and you’re Sammy Johns, there ain’t nothing, nothing, that can make a mini-van into a Status Car. And if you think otherwise, then you’ve perhaps been riding for too long with my old friend Steve, in the shag-floored, wood-paneled, bong-equipped 1980 Ford Ecoline van.