People who really understand music have the advantage when purchasing a used car. They know that checking the presets on the car radio is more important than kicking the tires or looking to see if the dip stick oil is dirty. The truth is that the only reason people kick tires is to appear to know what they are doing.

When using the radio station preset technique for used-car evaluation, most will steer clear of the car that picks up a mixture of talk and easy listening. Who would want a green station wagon with peeling plastic wood side panels anyway? The interior will be spotted with fast food and the grainy feeling of the torn vinyl upholstery actually will be from cracker crumbs a la Similac. The car will drive like the elevator the preset music should be locked in.The car with stations set to hard rock may be pretty on the outside, but the transmission should always be suspect. Of course this is only true if the station plays the current rock. The Beatles, remember, tooled around in a classic mini in an era when cars were loved, not hammered.

The classics on the presets can be deceptive. Do people who listen to Beethoven and Mozart in the car know how to change the oil? This car could be the victim of neglect.

If the stations are set to the other classics - country-western - the car may be OK pardner, but watch yer step gettin' in, and don't mind the smell of the used hay.

The person who is well-founded in music not only has the advantage in selecting a car but understands the world better.

If the world is only top forty music, the world is very small.

If folk, classical, jazz, and ethnic music are added to the top forty, the world is bigger and better understood.

In my world, part of growing up was in doing what adults did and in learning to like what adults liked. Growing up is a natural inclination to adopt adult tastes and styles in an effort to be accepted in a new world. The adults in this world attended and participated in symphony concerts and made Handel's Messiah and the Nutcracker Ballet part of the Christmas celebration every year. Each summer there was musical comedy and opera in the University of Utah Stadium and each Sunday the radio played Music and the Spoken Word from the crossroads of the West.

Since the kids in the family all planned to be adults someday, they participated in the adult musical world while at the same time they shared the music of their generation with their friends and tolerant parents. This meant that there were piano lessons and willing trips to the tabernacle for concerts where Maurice Abravanel used to teach the classics to the next generation. We also acquired the musical tastes of the fifties. The Hit Parade on TV each week was a family event. Of course these were the days when The Ballad of Davey Crockett and the Battle Hymn of the Republic could make it to the top ten.

My Father's Day present this year was an effort by a son to share his musical world with me. My friends ask me what Midnight Oil is when they see me in the T-shirt. His friends say that they wish they had been to the concert too and wonder if I'd like to sell the shirt or even trade it for a KISS. I tell them I'm not into kissing my son's friends.

I must admit that I don't really understand Midnight Oil very well but then I don't know if my kids understand the music that we take them to either. They seem to enjoy the youth symphony concerts that have now moved to Symphony Hall and the King's Singers and Doc Severnsen at Park City. They even allow 88.3 (KUER translator in Sanpete County) as one of the presets in our car. I suppose they think that it is the adult thing to do to listen to a variety of music.

They may even learn to pick out good cars with their broad musical tastes. The '69 MG that we are trying to put back together has a more affectionate personality since we found ticket stubs from a Utah Symphony Chamber Concert under the seat.