1735. In the trunk the yardman showed Proctor that the tire iron was rattling against the rim of the spare tire rhythmically with the vibrations of the engine. “If you want to sell this car, it has a good engine, don’t take less than seven hundred for it,” pronounced the yardman to Proctor.
1736. Proctor could not believe what had just happened. The yardman’s actions contradicted all of his assumptions about human behavior. Why would he avoid buying a perfectly good car that some dope does not know is sound? Many explanations occurred to him. The yardman did not care about money. The man preferred the pleasure of making a fool of him, to taking his car for twenty-five dollars. The man was just dumb, which explained the tarpaper shack and his obvious poverty.
1737. Nevertheless, Proctor was deeply impressed and wanted to find a way to express his appreciation. Thinking of the office full of assorted junk he asked the yardman if he would be willing to sell the hood ornament he had been polishing when he first walked into the shack. “What, said the yardman, you got a 34 Hudson you want to restore do you?”
1738. “No,” said Proctor, “but I have been thinking of making a collection of the hood ornaments of old cars.” “Don’t go doing that,” replied the yardman. “If you go around buying up the old hood ornaments of the old cars, then the people who really need them will have a harder time to find them. Can you imagine what it’s like for a person with a 1934 Hudson to look hopelessly for an authentic hood ornament.”