@JoeSoucheray’s Cylinder Index is Twisted Logic

A friend of mine hadn’t heard of Joe Soucheray’s “cylinder index” concept before today. If you’re not familiar with it, people call into his radio show and run through how many internal combustion engine cylinders they store in their garage. The higher the number, by Soucheray’s definition and his audience’s understanding, the more manly you are.

Think about that. The more you rely upon carbon spewing engines to do manual labor, the more manly you are?

On the other hand, if I manage to commute, mow my lawn, and keep my walk clear with a cylinder index of 5, I’m less manly with those who need more (and larger) vehicles to commute and more (and larger) tools to do yard work.

If I hire a lawn service that uses gas leaf blowers that will also be used at 100+ other properties per year, can I take credit for 1/100th of a cylinder?

If I buy a friend some beer in exchange for using his 8-cylinder truck the one day per year when I could use one rather than own one myself and use for daily commutes, does that make me less manly? Can I get 0.02 cylinder index credits for that?

How many cylinder index offsets can am I due for not complaining about high gas prices while not stuck in long commutes with more than 4 idling cylinders?

What’s most strange about this to me is that some of the same people who take pride in wasteful spending and wasting finite energy resources claim to be fiscal conservatives.

Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia’s description of Soucheray’s show:

Perhaps the main attraction of Garage Logic is the fact that anyone can become a citizen merely by declaring himself so—and that anything that defies logic (or is blindly followed by uncritical and emotional partisans) is open for pointed and unrelenting criticism.

Apparently, emotional, partisan behavior that leads to increased rates of asthma, exploding trains, and polluted water is acceptable in Gumption County. I suppose this comes from the same guy who sees waste in every government program that doesn’t involve subsidizing sports. Logically.

5 thoughts on “@JoeSoucheray’s Cylinder Index is Twisted Logic”

  1. Ed, you’re venturing firmly into “humorless killjoy” territory with this one. I’m not a fan of Soucheray, and don’t listen to his show. I have, however, heard it a few times when riding with friends or work colleagues and find the CI to be funny.

    Everything doesn’t have to be infused with political or ethical meaning. It’s still possible to do things and own things for the sheer enjoyment of having them. I have a lot of cylinders because I have a lot of collectible cars, but they all see very few miles. Some people collect old snowmobiles or outboard engines or lawn mowers. Isn’t it possible that a person may have 80 cylinders in their garage but drive fewer miles and use less gas than you in a year? Of course it is.

    Having more cylinders (or less cylinders) doesn’t in itself make anyone more or less manly or green or socially aware or a better citizen or anything else. It’s a joke about how much junk a guy has in his garage. Infusing it with meaning above and beyond that makes you seem like a shrill, unhappy jerk who can’t see past his own values and get the joke!

  2. @Luke, I have no doubt that there are Garage Logicians who have a high CI yet a low carbon footprint. If you’re looking for a shrill, unhappy jerk, I suggest reading Joe’s columns.

  3. The higher the number, by Soucheray’s definition and his audience’s understanding, the more manly you are.====== The Rat doesn’t see anything about CI as a measure of manliness in the link. Others may imply that, but that doesn’t make it so.

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