“The moms of soccer are yelling to me, do not like how my race car shopping trolley handles in store,” said Mr. Cho, grimacing, pronouncing soccer with a hard K. “In home country, soccer mom are happy to have all organs.” I was never able to figure out just what Cho’s “home country” was, but over the years I came to believe it was some lab-cooked hybrid between Afghanistan and an open-pit mine that extracts only human misery.

I sat behind my ornate cherrywood - at least I think that’s what Ikea named it - desk in the office of my solo engineering consultancy, and I considered the ceiling fan and Mr. Cho equally for a minute. Both of them consisted mainly of sharp blades that posed physical threat to my body around a central shaft. I took a little bit too long, and Cho clicked the stop button on my tape player, interrupting the early strains of Devo’s latest. Mr. Cho had no time for music, because it was hard to stir the soul and someone’s kidneys with a paint mixer drill at the same time.

“You will make better-handling shop cart,” he said flatly, without affect, jabbing at my face now with one of his artificially shortened index fingers.

I began to speak, perhaps to negotiate a contract or some kind of payment, but I was outplayed. Mr. Cho spun on his heel and was gone from my humble office like a hot dog fired from a Nerf rifle. I made a mental note to work on my metaphors, and when I was done, I looked out the window to also see his gently shopworn ‘93 RS America had already departed the modest parking lot.

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Months passed. Hundreds of interviews with concerned soccer moms, parents’ safety groups, suspension engineers. I visited autocrosses for background research. At last I had a plan, and it was pretty good timing too, as Mr. Cho would reappear as suddenly as ever in my office, demanding results. Now was my time to shine.

“Ah, Mr. Cho,” I said, unfolding from my desk chair like the threat display of a spider, “I have found the answer to your problems. Tell me, have you ever heard of throttle steer?”