I have a theory, and I would challenge anyone to refute it:
The Mazda Miata is a trophy for last place
You’ve seen the guys in their Miatas. They’re real winners. I think you have an idea about what I’m talking about, but let’s see how deep the rabbit hole really goes.
The mid-life crisis takes place within Erikson’s Stage Theory, loosely defined as “a stage of middle adulthood beginning somewhere between the late 20s to early 40s and continuing until about age 50 to 65, generally characterized by being actively involved in raising and caring for children.” The person in question has to choose between generativity and self-absorption.
So the theory goes that to be a success in life, you will come out of each stage with a balance tipping heavily toward the positive end of the spectrum while understanding and accepting the traits you have adopted from the more negative side (also important to recognize and utilize to your advantage). In each stage, you learn a set of behaviors that is tremendously difficult to change in later life. In the stage in question, these tell-tale behaviors that show the world who has won and who is not destined to do so.
For the middle-aged men in our population, so many of them are willing to concede their defeat to the world by buying themselves a giant, metal penis extenstion with wheels. Often as an affront to their wife and children, they saddle the family with the debt of their new toy because he’s earned it, and he may well have.
But not if all he can afford is a Miata.
Check out the MSRP on this bad boy. $22K. Compare that to the standard. You can get two Miatas for that price, and even have money to spring for the optional alloy wheels. Just for posterity’s sake, I’m going to throw in the daddy of them all, shoot to kill like a gun. I’m willing to bet that the luxury and gas-guzzler taxes on the 911 are about the same price as another Miata, so let’s call it six Miatas for the price of the the top performance automobile in part of the spectrum of “mid-life-crisis-mobiles.”
So not only has the man in the Miata put himself above the others in his life by buying the car (strike one), but he can’t even afford to buy the car he wants (strike two) while he sits in the stands as monetarily successful people are able to afford the ones he’s longed for. Most likely, he’ll start to make himeself believe that it is the car he wants, and by then, he’s lost the ability to dream and has relegated himself to a life of mediocrity (K).
So Mr. Twentysomething; the next time you see a 40 year-old man in a Miata, promise yourself never to be him. Promise yourself that you’ll be driving something that doesn’t shout “Loser” so loud. What car would be appropriate . . . I don’t know; but the next time you see a man in a Miata, ask yourself who you really think he’s kidding.