I don't have a point to make really, I just think this story is interesting, amusing, and should be shared:
My friend recently had a problem with her van, namely, that it wouldn't start. The source of the problem? The microchip that coordinated the functions of her van was shorted out. The cause of the short out was the signal from "the clicker" for her car alarm and locks had shorted out the chip, which according to the mechanic is not an uncommon problem (though it is the first time I have ever heard of it). The cost to reprogram the microchip? $2,000 through the dealer, the only person who would do it.
However, her husband's friend knew a guy. In particular, this guy knew how to reprogram these chips, which apparently was in violation of some law or regulation, so he worked through word of mouth. Her husband removed the microchip from the car, and the next day she took it to see this mysterious reprogrammer.
Like most of the residents of Bloomington, she was uncomfortable with the prospect of living the city limits and entering the rural area. "Bloomington is just different than the rest of the state" they all tell me, as if it exists slightly out of phase with the rest of the universe. The residents believe life is uncivilized, nasty, brutish, and short once you pass the Wal-Mart by Rt. 37.
Even for someone who grew up in Conneticuit, $1,700 is a sufficient compensating differential for my friend to venture o'er yonder. As she pulls up to the rural farmhouse of the address shees sees that the porch of this house is occupied by about 6 people, all of whom seem to just exist for the purpose of sitting on the porch. All of them are older in age, many seem to be missing teeth, and nobody is talking. She describes it as being very creepy, and that it looked like a scene from the movie Deliverance.
She announces why she's there, one of the men accepts the chip and the $300, tells her to return tommorrow. Instead she sends her husband, who returns with the chip and installs it into the car, and it works flawlessly.
Apparently, reprogramming microchips in vans has replaced bootlegging homemade moonshine.