Trabant

by C H

The communist nations, because they lasted so long, had the best jokes. I have a collection of jokes from the DDR, East Germany. President Ronald Reagan made a hobby of collecting Communist jokes, and when he would tell them, listeners found them funny and laughed. I heard him use a few in a speech and I thought they were pretty good, too, so I had to collect them. This is one of the jokes Reagan told.

There is this guy in East Germany, who goes in to buy a Trabant. Trabant, which the East Germans called a “Trabi,” was an East German car and the most common kind in the country. It was not a good car. However, there is a club in Boston, the Trabi Club, and, if you go there, you can actually see what they looked like. From an engineering point of view, they are really brilliant, because one of the goals in building them was to save gas. The car is built completely out of fiberglass so it is a very light vehicle. An extremely strong person could actually lift it. It is an amazing car in certain respects, although it did not run very well and didn’t have a lot of horsepower.

If you wanted to buy a Trabi, you had to walk in to the dealer, which was really the government, and pay for the entire cost of the car up front. They did not believe in loans.

After paying the entire cost of the car, the buyer could then wait perhaps 10 years for the car to be ready.

Let’s say the guy in our story purchases a car for all cash on November 10, 2014.

The dealer says to him, “Okay, come back on November 10, 2024, and you can pick up your car.”

And our customer asks, “But will that be in the morning or will it be in the afternoon?” The dealer says, “What difference does it make? It’s 10 years from now.”
“Well,” the customer says. “The plumber is coming in the morning.” – Murray Stahl in the Contrarian Compendium

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