French Revolution: a tragic tale of three car brandsFri, 23 Oct 2009 00:00:00 -0700
Once upon a time, in France, there were three brothers, three very different characters, but whose futures were inextricably linked.
The youngest brother was Citroen. He was brilliant and he was good-looking. And he was pretty popular, especially with the ‘smart-set’, who could sit in cafés listening to him for hours, although they never really understood a word he was saying.
The middle brother was Renault. Everyone liked Renault, he was fashionable, always full of ideas and he was pretty bright too, though not in the way his young brother was, and people couldn’t help noticing that he could also be a little shallow and unreliable.
Then there was the oldest brother, Peugeot. Like many elder brothers, he was ‘the sensible one’, always elegantly turned out, but completely disinterested in fashion and careful in everything he did. He wasn’t unpopular, in fact you could bump into him practically anywhere, but he always sat on the edge of the crowd and hardly ever spoke.
As time went by, many people’s fears for the two younger brothers were realised.
Renault was always jealous of his brilliant young brother. Sometimes this was good, and it spurred him on to do interesting things, sometimes it was just plain stupid. In the end he let down one too many people, got into trouble and had to be put into state care. There he stayed for many years and he emerged, it must be said, a better man, though people do still sometimes worry about that shallowness.
Citroen’s brilliance was never matched by his wordliness. He had so many clever plans that he wanted to realise that it filled his head to bursting. Of course he neglected everything else and, in the end, he got into the worst possible money trouble and had to go running to his elder brother for help. Now Peugeot was not an intentionally cruel man and, in fact, he was fond of Citroen, but he did resent how he got all the limelight whilst Peugeot just got on with things. So he gave Citroen a small allowance and told him to carry on, as before, but to ‘try to be more like me’. With so little, poor Citroen had no choice but to comply, even putting up with the indignity of being given Peugeot’s hand-me-down clothes. Everyone felt so sad for Citroen, though he put on a brave face and they always hoped that he would recover that youthful brilliance. But, if they are honest, when they look into his eyes they can see that spark had gone forever.
Which leaves us with the older brother, Peugeot. His innate conservatism vindicated, at first he just seemed to get on with business as before. But the tragedy was that there was no-one to look out for Peugeot, although, in hindsight, many people did ask themselves why they didn’t see the signs. But it came so subtly, so slowly. You can judge a man by the quality of his tailor, they say, so maybe there should have been warning bells when he dispensed with the services of the skilful old Italian, who had served him so well for so many years. His new method of dress hardly attracted attention at first, but it became more outlandish as Peugeot tried so hard to look ‘trendy’ in his attempt to make new young friends. In truth, the more discerning of these people laughed at him, whilst the rest just tolerated him, as long as he paid for the drinks.
All this was made even worse by the fact that Peugeot’s personal habits became more dissolute. His self-control and bearing had once been a byword, now he hardly seemed to care and he could sometimes be seen swaying down the road, laughing loudly and passing wind in public with all the other ne’er-do-wells. Their excuse was that they knew no better, but no-one understood how Peugeot could look at himself in the mirror.
So, dressed inappropriately, with a stupid grin on his face, Peugeot still carelessly roams the streets whispering ‘Drivesexy?’ into the ear of anyone he sees. His old friends shun him, but he seems not to mind, just content in the company of whoever he wakes up in bed with. Where it will end, no-one knows, but it doesn’t look good. Maybe if we had all let him know how much we cared, he wouldn’t have gone off the rails. But there you go, he was never the type you felt you could say ‘I Love You’ to, and it will only be when he’s gone that we’ll realise how much we’ll miss him.