Wednesday, August 10, 2005

popular mechanics

I am not a car person. On the rare occasion that my vehicle malfunctions I will stand in the driveway with the hood up and a wrench or screwdriver in my hand and stare into the engine. After about fifteen minutes of this (or whatever seems sufficient time to have proven my manliness by at least making an attempt) I will go back in the house and call my father or father-in-law.
But occasionally it will be something simple enough to handle on my own, like an easily recognizable disconnected battery. I can also do the simple maintenance outlined in the owner's manual that I lay the far enough under the hood so that neighbors and passers-by get the illusion that I know what I'm doing from memory. I did so just this morning, in fact.
Replacing a headlight bulb seemed easy enough on the outset. My only question after consulting the manual was this: Why the hell does the battery need to be disconnected? I suppose I could have found out by proceeding without that step, but I assumed the nice Japanese people who wrote the manual had only my best interest at heart, and would not complicate my life with unnecessary actions. Except for having to maneuver my stubbly little fingers around some tight spaces it really was an easy procedure, and I found that I even had sufficient manliness left over to mow the lawn.
The grass itself is going brown again and beginning to blend in well with the bare patches, and I probably could've just pulled the tallest weeds and spread some clippings on the driveway and no one would've known the difference. It needed mowing about as much as society needs a sequel to Deuce Bigalow, but I suppose the exercise did me some good. Also, it made it look like I had a more productive day than emailing my resume to various dead ends and then retiring to the couch to play my banjo and watch the History Channel with Carl Weathers.
I have spoken of my ancient mower many times and have probably given it more publicity than warranted, but it really was in rare form today.
I first mowed the perimeter and then attempted to make diagonal lines across the lawn. This was important, as the tracks of the mower itself are really the only indication that an effort was made. The geometry of that method really doesn't work to well on a pie-shaped lawn, but it gives me something to do.
The mower itself coughed and sputtered even more than usual. It has been suffering from impending death since it was first given to us a couple of years ago, and today it even kept cutting out for split seconds before lurching back to life. I have now christened it "Redd Foxx", as it more often seems to be clutching at its heart and telling Elizabeth that it's coming home whenever confronted by anything difficult, like the occasional patch of healthy grass or Lamont bringing home a Puerto Rican girl.
The funny thing about Redd Foxx's actual death from a heart attack was that no one believed him. He was on the set of the "The Royal Family", a sit com that had originally been titled "Chest Pains", ironically enough, and began clutching at his chest and stumbling around one day. The rest of the cast broke into laughter, thinking that he was doing the old bit from "Sanford and Son". He was not, and I imagine the he probably said something like, "Call the ambulance, you big dummy", and the other cast members laughed and shook their heads and responded with something like, "You still got it, Redd. You still got it".
I wish someone had taped that.


Blogger lotus said...

Seriously Dude, you've got the most consistenly funny posts of all the blogs I frequent.

I bet after they realized that Redd was Deadd, they laughed it up even more. The irony had to have been side splitting. "What? He's dead? You're kidding me! No shit? He was serious? HHAAAAHAHAHAA....No fucking way man...seriously? HAAHHAHHHAA!"

12:27 PM  
Blogger melusina said...

Hehe, poor guy.

My husband knows nothing about cars and I wouldn't even let him attempt to fix anything, even by staring at the open hood with a screwdriver in hand. Not that I really think he would try.
In fact, all the people I used to know who had some pretense of knowing how to fix cars really didn't seem to know how to fix cars. AT least, the cars they fixed always broke down again with the very same problem a few weeks later.

2:01 PM  

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