The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture


Randy Pausch

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The Last Lecture: Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

One day, while Randy is out, Jai accidentally crashes her car into Randy’s convertible, leaving both badly dented. She pulls both into the garage and makes Randy his favorite meal before telling him the news. After they are finished eating, Jai and Randy go to inspect the damage. Jai says she promises to go get the cars repaired tomorrow morning, and Randy tells her that isn’t necessary. The dents are fine. Randy’s parents had taught him, “automobiles are there to get you from point A to point B. They are utilitarian devices, not expression of social status.” So, Randy won’t let Jai do cosmetic repairs on the car. Jai is shocked, but Randy tells her that she has to accept both sides of him: she was happy when he wasn’t mad, so she has to accept that, if the cars still work, they’re going to drive them. The “dented cars became a statement” in Jai and Randy’s marriage—“not everything needs to be fixed.”
Randy uses the obstacle of the scuffed-up cars to make a statement about his and Jai’s marriage—“not everything needs to be fixed.” Also, he uses the opportunity of Jai’s mistake to give her feedback and teach her a lesson that Randy’s parents had taught him—cars are meant to be used for transportation, not social status, and so they do not need to be repaired if the damage is merely cosmetic.
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