The other day I was chatting with one of my sons, who is buying a new car.
As a father, I wanted to go over the process with him to make sure he knew what to expect at the dealership.
Later, when I thought about that conversation, I realized that it must have seemed like the scene in The Godfather in which Vito Corleone is sitting in the garden with his son Michael warning him to expect an attack from the mobster Barzini.
"You should go online and do some research," I suggested.
My son looked at me in a reassuring way.
"I did that already, Dad," he said.
I leaned forward with another thought.
"Remember that the finance interest rate is negotiable," I told him.
I said it again, slowly, to make sure he caught my meaning.
"I know, Dad," he said. "I'm getting the loan from my credit union."
"Have you already talked to the credit union?" I asked.
He told me he had locked in what seemed like a very reasonable rate for 36 months. All the credit union needed was the VIN.
"When you go into the dealership's F&I office, they'll probably come at you with a menu of items they want you to buy," I warned, "especially since they won't make any money on your loan."
It seemed important to mention that asking him to initial a paper saying he had been offered -- and was rejecting -- this product or that was just a sales tactic.
"I remember from the last time I bought a new car," he said.
"I hope you don't mind the way I keep going over this F&I business," I said.
My son said he didn't mind.
I told him it was an old habit, trying never to be careless at a dealership.
Slumping back in my chair, I had to admit my son seemed ready.
I just hope the salesman isn't named Barzini.