HOT-DAMN HOT ROD

Mustang

Once upon a long time ago, shortly after the invention of the wheel….

One day I had to take my car in to a garage to have some work done. Back when ‘Customer Service’ was still a proven fact, and not a forgotten myth, the apprentice mechanic drove me to work and took my car back to the shop.  He, or someone else, was supposed to pick me up at 5:00 PM, when both our firms were finished for the day.

About 3 o’clock, my phone rang. They had dismantled the car, but a couple of necessary parts wouldn’t arrive till early the next morning.  I would have to leave it overnight, and find a way home and back in the next morning.

Home was almost 10 miles across town on a hot August afternoon. Walking was unthinkable.  Transit would mean over an hour, three buses, and still a good walk to the house.  I approached DORIS, a ditzy clerk, old enough to be my mother.  She lived on the same side of town, but normally took a road parallel to mine.

Sure! She could drive me home.  She was also taking Ethel, who lives near me.  At 5:00, we all left the office, and headed for the parking lot.  Doris handed me a key chain, and said, “When I’m in the car with a man, he drives.”  A little strange, but, Okay.

I know she drives a crappy Dodge Dart. The keychain she handed me was quite masculine – a blue rabbit’s foot, one die (dice), and a Ford key.  She saw me looking at it questioningly, and said, “I had to take my car in too.  I’m driving the son’s car.”

When we got to her spot, there was a new(ish) Mustang. I climbed in and fired it up, and saw a couple of reasons why she wanted me to drive.  Gearhead son bought the ‘Tang with the stock 283 cubic inch motor, but had got ahold of, and shoehorned in, a gigantic seven liter (427 C.I.) engine with 4-on-the-floor transmission.  I was raised on standards, so I was good to go.

As I backed up and pulled out, I found yet another reason. While son had installed the big motor and tranny, he hadn’t (yet) put in power steering or heavy-duty front suspension.  Here was an engine as big as Mount Rushmore, sitting over extra-wide front tires. It was like trying to steer the Titanic with a canoe paddle.

Once I got it going more or less straight, on the road home, the conversation turned to language. How could it not? I was in the car.  I mentioned that the first thing I had learned about German when I arrived, was that there are no silent letters.

I had asked a German-speaker about an Amish dish called ‘schnitz und knepp.’ I confused her by pronouncing it ‘nepp.’  This is when she told me it should be ‘kenepp.’  We had recently hired a new, young engineer, named George Kniseley.  When he came around to introduce himself, he pronounced it ‘nizely.’  I told them that, properly, it should be pronounced ‘kenizely.’

Doris said, “Who??”
“George Kniseley!”
“Who??!”
“The young engineer we just hired.  He sits upstairs, across from Bill, our chief engineer.”
“Oh, him!?  I’ve been calling him Kinsley (kins-lee) for six months, and nobody’s said a thing.”

That’s okay, Boris….uh, Doris, I’m sure he doesn’t mind.   😕

Advertisements

I’m Too Duh-mb For My Shirt

The chances to watch the stupidity of some of the members of the human race are everywhere. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry sometimes.  The local paper has an automotive section in the Thursday edition mostly about current and soon-to-be-released vehicles.  I still drool and dream over the weekly motorcycle article.  On the tonight show each Monday night, Jay Leno usually has a bit he calls “Headlines”.   This week, he showed an ad for a motorcycle for sale.  Well, it actually read “Modersickle”.  Oh dear, is there a special school for morons?

The automotive section includes an article with photo of “Classic Cars”.  I love the old stuff.  I know the new ones run better and are safer, but the old ones had an élan and joie de vivre, before they all became indistinguishable corporate cookie-cutter clones.  I have my advancing age thrown in my face when the weekly *Classic* is from 1994, instead of 1944.

The duh-mb comes from the Question and Answer column.  People write…well, probably email, this ex-mechanic to get him to solve their automotive problems.  For a while, it seemed every week there was some kind of scam operator, trying to use the leverage of the power of the press, to force a business to accept a losing proposition.  Things like trying to force a tire shop to replace all four tires under a two-year warrantee, when they’d been driven two miles up a logging trail for a bush party.  Do they think an experienced mechanic and paid problem-solver won’t find out?  Oops!  Damn!  Sorry, I used that word again.

One guy owned two cars, and took the backup in to a shop to have the spark-plugs changed.  An apprentice removed the old plugs and, in doing so, broke one off.  The car was not ready for pickup when he came back, but they said they would call him when it was.  They thought they might have to take the head off, to get at it from underneath.

The letter rambled on and on about; why did they let an apprentice do this labor?  For the money I’m paying, it should always be a licensed mechanic!  I’m afraid that they’ve done some damage to the car, and they’re holding it for ransom to make me pay for their mistake.  It’s been almost two weeks and they haven’t phoned.  Can you help me get my car back?

The reply was; if you insist that it always be a licensed mechanic, the apprentice will never get to train, and eventually we’ll run out of licensed mechanics.  About damaging your car; they managed to get the plug out without dismantling the engine, so no damage was done.  About holding your car for ransom; apparently the cell-phone number you gave them was not in service and they had no other way to contact you.  The car has been ready for you for over a week if you’d bothered to contact them, instead of me.

Another genius wrote to say that he wanted another chip-encoded key for his car.  He complained that the dealer wanted almost a hundred dollars for one, so he bought one off the internet for ten.  He sent a picture of the key and said that he was having problems coding the new key to his car, what was the problem?  From the picture, the mechanic told him that the problem was that he had bought a non-chip key, and no matter how much he tried; he would never be able to code it.  He should keep it as a spare, in case he ever got locked out, and go to the dealer or a locksmith, and buy the correct one.

I watched an online video recently.  If I’d thought to record the web address I could include it here, or, since the wife and I are learning about linking and inserting, I could show you or let you watch it on your own.  Perhaps another blog.

The gist is; a mid/late-twenties male and his girlfriend, in a car.  He says, “Jenny, I’ve got a math question for you.  If I’m driving at eighty miles per hour, how long will it take to go eighty miles?”  She goes off about how she’s a jogger, and she jogs about nine miles an hour.  Well, if she pushed it she could probably do ten for a while.

“Jenny, if I’m driving at eighty miles an hour, how long will it take to go eighty miles?”

Well, truck tires are bigger than car tires, and you always accelerate hard when you start.  Is this on a level surface, and is the wind behind us or ahead of us.

“Jenny, if I’m driving at eighty miles an hour, how long will it take to go eighty miles?”

This is a trick question, because you probably know a shortcut.  I can’t run that fast, and you won’t let me drive.

“Jenny, I’ll tell you the answer.  It would take an hour.”

No it wouldn’t!  You always drive faster than that even though the truck tires look like they’re going really fast.  I bet it would only take forty or forty-five minutes.

It’s obvious that he’s not keeping her around as a coach for his Jeopardy appearance, and therein lies the problem.  I know we have to let them vote, and drive, even if he won’t let her, but is there some way to keep them from breeding the next generation of duh-mbs?