Commentary

printed 04/30/2021

Kleenex, Jacuzzi, Scotch Tape, JetSki. These are among the many brand names used instead of the generic terms, just as H2Oi, the name of a legitimate car rally, is used locally to refer to any swarm of modified and mostly imported small cars and the people who drive them.

This habitual and incorrect use of H2Oi to refer to the anarchy of the tuner car horde that has descended on Ocean City in recent years infuriates actual H2Oi participants, who aren’t a part of that mayhem.

As an angry reader posted on our website this week, H2Oi refers to the annual gathering of enthusiasts of water-cooled Volkswagens and Audis, who used to convene here until the illegal behavior of nonparticipants in tuner cars forced their event to move to Atlantic City.

Understandably, the writer takes offense at H2Oi being used as a pejorative to describe any collection of disruptive knotheads driving modified small cars with the intention of tearing up the place.

However unfair and unfortunate that is, it remains that H2Oi, like Ocean City, has become a victim of this unwelcome vehicular free-for-all.

Both the legitimate car event and Ocean City are suffering from reputational damage caused by this crowd, and there isn’t much H2Oi can do about it, except to help spread the word to unaffiliated tuner car fans to stay away from the resort.

Unfortunately for H2Oi, its name has been co-opted for use as a convenient label for something not easily described, just as “JetSki” is much easier to say than “personal water craft,” and “Scotch Tape” is preferred over the generic “cellophane tape.”

Slapping the H2Oi nametag on the motorhead mobocracy is neither fair nor correct, but because it’s less complicated than saying “troublemakers driving modified small cars imported mostly from Asia,” it has become a part of the local lexicon.

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