The Knights of the Auto Order Proudly Present: The Auto Body Estimate: Vol. II, #107, December 2011

I overheard some coworkers at the water cooler the other day. One was talking about a trumpet player who leads a brass quintet, who is very careful to make sure that whoever plays second trumpet in his group is never as good as he is.

My other coworker remarked that similar behavior occurs in the singles scene, where an insecure woman might choose to travel with a particularly unsightly female companion, in order to look that much better by comparison.

In both cases, low self-esteem drives folks to extreme measures to make sure they look good in the eyes of others. Clearly powerful forces are at play here. What if they could be harnessed, like hydrogen or dilithium crystals? I feel like I'm on the brink of discovering a great, untapped power source of the future.

But how might an insecurity drive be harnessed?

You might start by rounding up a group of particularly insecure individuals. Trumpet players do come to mind, as well as guitar players. And drummers. You might as well just find some bands. Then put them in a situation where they'll feel particularly vulnerable and will seriously doubt themselves. Perhaps book a rock band at a jazz club, or some other genre mismatch. Make them wear ill-fitting clothes in some style that they would never personally choose. Finally, have lots of successful-looking people show up to watch them struggle at a style of music they might never have chosen to play in the first place.

At this point the insecurity should really be flowing. All the scientists need to do is create some sort of power collection apparatus and we're set!

Huh. As I re-read that, I think I just described a wedding band gig. Hmm. Talk about using every part of the buffalo: What if you booked wedding bands for a living, and made sure to book the most inappropriate band for each gig, got paid for this service, AND were able to collect (and sell) the awesome energy created? Genius!

Sadly, the Auto Body Experience's last 2011 performance isn't a mismatch likely to generate a lot of energy (although we will likely play our song "The Wedding Band"). The gig is actually a great fit. Back in the day, there was a great Twin Cities band known for playing extremely clever, fun, catchy pop music. This band was aptly named Something Fierce. They were a favorite of ours, and the Auto Body Experience welcomed any chance we could to share a stage with them.

Unfortunately, their lead singing bassist, Jeff Carpenter, was in a bad car accident many years ago, and no longer performs. Jeff's alive and well, however, and remains a big fan of music, movies, and mayhem. Last summer I attended his class reunion at Carleton College where his former bandmates performed under the moniker of "Somewhat Fierce," playing all their classic hits – and it was awesome!

On Monday, December 12th, the Auto Body Experience and Somewhat Fierce will play an "invitation only" party at the Main Street Bar in Hopkins to celebrate Jeff's fiftieth birthday. You are hereby invited. Out of courtesy to the hosts, please RSVP by Monday, December 5th, either via email to or via this facebook page. It'll be an early night: the ABE plays one set at 8PM and Somewhat Fierce plays one at 9PM, followed by socializing and head scratching over how it's possible that the last time we played together was decades ago! Again, just let us know if you plan to come, so we know how many cocktail wiener appetizers to prepare.

Finally, I want to help with your holiday shopping. What sort of gift can you give someone who already has all four Auto Body Experience CDs? An Auto Body Experience T-shirt, of course! Available in black and "mocha," they're $15 each, plus $2 shipping per order. Interested? You can see the shirts and download a printable order form here.

Best wishes and love for the holiday season,
Scott Yoho, Grand Pooh Bah, Knights of the Auto Order

For more details, contact: The Main Street Bar at 814 Main Street in Hopkins: 952-938-2400,, or

PS: Ultimately, I'm just not sure the insecurity drive will work. I mean, I'm no scientist, right? I seriously doubt I'm the guy to solve the energy crisis. I'm reminded of the time I wrote that book on the power of positive thinking, but didn't believe it was good enough to be published…

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