Back in the days when I used to cruise the wild streets of Toronto's suburbs in my 1975 Ford Granada, I discovered the most important thing a vehicle needs: a cassette player that works.

And I'm not talking about the ability to play, fast forward or rewind. During one hot summer, Billy Ocean was trapped in my car. Wedged in the tape deck, so to speak. Able to play, but unable to eject.

As luck would have it, it was his greatest hits album that contained this song:

Billy and I got to know each other really well. After about a week, I was singing backup without even realizing it. My vocabulary soon became peppered with phrases like:

"No more love on the run..."

"When the going gets tough..."

"Wanna be your lover, lover..."

The last one isn't recommended when you work in a family restaurant, let me tell you.
Did I mention that if a tape was in my car stereo the radio wouldn't play? It was Billy or nothing.

For about three weeks, I'd say a prayer before reaching for the eject button on my tape deck. It went along the lines of this:

Dear Car Stereo Gods,

Thank you for providing me with the gift of vehicular music; you have made driving through rush-hour traffic almost bearable and trips to the cottage super fun. After all you have done for me, I bow before you with one teenie weenie request:

Please help me release Billy Ocean from my cassette deck.

He's been here a while and he's tired. Billy and the band need a break so that they can entertain me or anyone within earshot in an entirely new venue. Like my girlfriend's place. Or at the used record shop.

It's not that I don't love Billy. I really do. It's just that, in order for us to really appreciate each other, I need him out of my car.

Pretty please?

And then they'd respond with the annoying "clink" of plastic hitting metal. Over and over again.

I finally drove over to a car stereo repair shop where a greasy dude with way too many piercings leaned over the passenger's seat with what looked like an icepick and popped out the cassette. Both it and the stereo felt none the worse for wear.

"Billy Ocean?" the dude asked as he inspected the tape. "Cool."

"You can keep it," I said before handing him the $20 I owed him for the service and speeding away.