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Replacing the Beetle

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My friend and companion through many adventures over eleven years, my Volkswagen Beetle made its last ride the week of Memorial Day.

Who are you?

I'm Allyn Gibson, a writer. I've published some short fiction over the years, including the Star Trek short story "Make-Believe" (Constellations, Pocket Books, 2006) and the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity" (Short Trips: The Quality of Leadership, Big Finish Productions, 2008), as well as some non-fiction articles. In the main, though, I'm best known as the writer of the PREVIEWS catalog for Diamond Comic Distributors. (As I write this, I'm wrapping up work on my one-hundred and ninth issue.) You can find me on social media, and I have an irregularly updated blog.

What happened to your Beetle?

The cooling system failed and the head gasket blew. There's also two major issues beyond that; things that haven't failed as yet, but are likely to fail sooner rather than later.

What are you asking for?

The Beetle, unfortunately, must be replaced. It's required extensive  and expensive repairs over the last three years to stay on the road. Another expensive repair doesn't make a great deal of sense. It amounts to throwing money in a hole, money I don't have.

Replacing the Beetle, however, presents an unfortunate problem &mdash; that's <i>slso</i> something I can't afford.

What I'm asking for, then, is help in putting together a down payment on a replacement for the Beetle.

Why do you need a car? What about public transportation?

I live in southern Pennsylvania. My job is in Hunt Valley, Maryland, roughly thirty-five miles away. Public transportation isn't an option (there is a bus I could take in the evenings, but the schedule in the mornings isn't feasible). Neither is living closer to the office; that wouldn't be doable on my salary, anyway. And since telecommuting also isn't an option at the office, I need a car. Without a car, I can't work. If I can't work... well, I don't want to think about that.  Suffice it to say, it wouldn't be good.

What are you looking for in a vehicle?

Something that runs. A recent-ish used car without a ton of miles, which would be dependable for the York-to-Hunt Valley commute, would be ideal. I suspect a new car wouldn't be feasible financially; my credit isn't especially great.

Why are you asking for help?

I'm going to start by saying that even asking for help is difficult for me. I like to help others when and where I can, but being in a position where I have to ask for help is actually setting me on edge. "I'm in a tough spot and I need some assistance," in this instance, outweighs, "I'm embarrassed to ask for help," but it's still uncomfortable to do it.

Like millions of Americans, my life is financially precarious. My job at Diamond doesn't pay quite enough, but the finances have been borderline manageable, largely through avoiding unnecessary expenses and by thinking hard about what's necessary. (Cable, by the way, is not a necessity, thus I don't have it.) But I don't have any emergency money set aside, I burned through the savings I had to keep my head above water long ago, and turning to family isn't an option as they're in no position to help.

I can pull together a little bit of money, but not enough to replace the Beetle. Thus, I'm turning to you -- friends, acquaintances, even strangers -- for assistance.

What are you doing right now?

At the moment? Catching rides with coworkers who live vaguely near me. It's not a permanent solution, and it's a situation I would like to resolve sooner (as in, within the next week) rather than later.

Why the Q&A style?

I like interviews. I got to interview Bloom County's Berkeley Breathed recently. Look for that in PREVIEWS #334, available in your local comic shop the last week of June!

Do you have stretch goals?

Any funding campaign needs stretch goals. I have two.

If we reach $100 (yes, a mere one hundred dollars), I will mail you a handwritten thank you note if you so desire.

If we reach $5,000, I will buy a kilt. From my careful reading of the employee handbook, kilts are not expressly prohibited work attire. I will wear the kilt to the office (with a white dress shirt and a necktie, because that would look quite sharp, I think) -- and not on Halloween. There will be pictures, guaranteed!

I have another question that you didn't answer.

Please ask! Leave a comment below, and I'll answer to the best of my ability.

Final thoughts?

If you can help, thank you. I am truly grateful.

If you can't, I do understand.  There's a lot going on in the world.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


  • Chana Goldberg
    • $10 
    • 8 yrs


Allyn Gibson
Dallastown, PA

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