Yes It’s True: Air tire trick brings back memories

“Ya know, that reminds me of a story that’s so dirty I was ashamed to think of it myself.” — Groucho Marx

The economic avant garde organization Adbusters has announced a campaign to annoy gas-guzzling SUV owners by urging its jokester culture jammers to let air out of the tires of the vehicles.

This bold, or foolhardy, project is an attempt to discourage people from buying and using SUVs because they are major contributors to the rampant problem of climate change. Those who would get caught doing the deed probably would either get arrested or have their arses handed to them by irate SUV owners.

Though I won’t encourage anyone to let air out of anybody’s tires, I appreciate the creativity. The organization, which publishes a magazine of the same name, reminds me of the spoof group The Yes Men, who once filmed their presentation of a newfangled hamburger made from human solid waste. They handed out hamburgers at the start of their speech.

Regardless, Adbusters’ campaign brought back sudden memories of my last day of eighth grade at the now-defunct Croton School.

Several lads and I were walking around the town and school as it let out for its last day. We spotted the car we knew belonged to teacher and Principal Ralph LeBlanc. One of the lads, with a huge grin, got the idea to let air out of Mr. LeBlanc’s car tires to force him to use a gas station to get it replenished. And who knows what kinds of tire damage could ensue?

We weren’t particularly bright, though.

Our group later in the afternoon easily could be found hanging out in front of the general store, which included a gas station and air pump. Mr. LeBlanc and his family were inside his vehicle, which slowly and awkwardly navigated the road to the store, and all of us sat frozen with fear of being caught.

Mr. LeBlanc slowly got out of the car and walked over to us, immediately asking, “All right, which one of you guys let the air out of my tires?”

No one answered, but he immediately seized the culprit and violently tried to push him inside the car to take him to the Michigan State Police post in Newaygo.

The culprit forcefully resisted and loudly proclaimed his innocence. During the unpleasant back-and-forth shouting exchange, the lad clearly stated, “I did not let air out of your tires, Mr. LeBlanc.”

The teacher-principal finally relented, filled up air in his tires and left. I remember the embarrassed smile his daughter flashed at the end of the incident.

Interestingly, when the lad was doing the dirty deed earlier in the day, he let his girlfriend photograph the crime. As I said earlier, we weren’t particularly bright.

We joked with the lad that he’d better be good to his girlfriend or she could pass along the photographic evidence to Mr. LeBlanc. He broke up with her less than two months later, but as far I recollect, she never squealed on him.

I don’t know who said it, but some very learned man once said it’s a good thing so many criminals aren’t very bright. Otherwise, crime indeed would pay.


  • “Though I won’t encourage anyone to let air out of anybody’s tires, I appreciate the creativity.” Nod, nod, wink, wink, say no more, you would not encourage anyone but. We must ask what if the air was let out of the tires on your vehicle in the name of saving the planet? Would you appreciate the creativity? Perhaps not.

  • “Thirty years ago, a bold plan was cooked up to spread doubt and persuade the public that climate change was not a problem. The little-known meeting – between some of America’s biggest industrial players and a PR genius – forged a devastatingly successful strategy that endured for years, and the consequences of which are all around us.”

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