There are certain words that keep journalists up at night. Last night in my bedroom at 11:58 p.m., the word was “Michelins.”
About eight hours earlier, I had filed a review of country singer Carrie Underwood’s new album “Blown Away.” There was one passage where I recapped the storyline of her early single “Before He Cheats,” a revenge anthem about discovering your lover has been unfaithful and taking it out on his pickup.
Great song, but I still had a question: What brand of tire would Carrie Underwood slash? Firestones? It didn’t sound right. Goodyears are popular — but that made me think of the blimp, which would muddle a jack-o-lantern metaphor I was setting up. Should I call my truck-owning cousins? “Hey, man! Sorry for not calling the past seven Christmases, but, um, do you like Carrie Underwood? And what kind of tires are you using these days?” Nah.
I went to a consumer site that said Michelins were the highest-ranked brand of tire for pickup trucks. I liked the sound of “Michelins” and I came up with some fall-back reasoning, too. If it turns out Michelins are for losers, that’s fine. Carrie’s cheating beau is a loser. Michelins. Michelins. Michelins, Regis. Final answer.
“Double-cross this one and she’ll carve up the Michelins on your pickup like a jack-o’-lantern,” I wrote.
At 9:39 a.m.Tuesday, I received an email from a reader in Takoma Park:
“Subject: Michelins? MICHELINS?????
Hey Chris -- No self-respecting country music fan is going to have Michelins on the truck. We use Goodyear. . . .”
My impulse is to trust a reader passionate enough to use five question marks in a subject line, but just in case, I’ll be arriving at my next Carrie Underwood concert an hour early so I can scope out the tires in the parking lot.