'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
POWER EQUIPMENT IS BEYOND COMPREHENSION
Every once in a while I start to think that I’ve got my act together. I get a feeling of competence, the sensation that I have things under control and I can handle just about anything that comes along. And then I’ll walk into my garage. That’s when I realize I don’t have a clue.
My garage if filled with all kinds of suburban homeowner devices: lawn mower, snow blower, weed whacker, power washer, leaf blower, hedge trimmer, shop vac, and a World War II Army surplus flame-thrower. (No, I’m just kidding about the flame-thrower. Don’t send the State Police SWAT team to my house just because I tried to make a dopey joke.)
Each of these items serves an important function in the never-ending battle of home maintenance. Fortunately, I am able to operate each device reasonably well, while keeping the risk of losing a finger to a minimum. But I have no idea HOW each item works. That is, if any of these products refuses to start, I’m sunk. Many other people, competent people, understand the inner workings of these machines and are able to do all kinds of amazing and mysterious things, such as “tinker” and “tweak” and “tune.” They can turn a lawn mower that barely coughs into a machine that roars to life.
With me, if the device doesn’t start, my only recourse is to perform my acclaimed three-act drama in my driveway. First, I try some gentle coaxing and pleading. When that doesn’t work I change to intercessory prayer. And then when St. Toro, the patron saint of power equipment, does not come to my aid, I move on to Act III, an R-rated rant directed toward the uncooperative machine.
The star of Act IV, of course, is my checkbook, which gets a healthy workout when I lug the miserable appliance to a repair shop.
I blame the whole problem on the public education system. Back in the 1970s I was steered into the “College prep” curriculum. The so-called “shop classes” were off limits. Those classes, we were told, were only for the unfortunate souls who could not quite measure up academically and needed to be trained to perform some blue collar task. While I was studying, say, the sociological dynamics of the Peloponnesian War, they instead were learning something useful. So nowadays these unfortunate souls are making a fortune, because they are the very same folks to whom I write sizable checks on a regular basis because they know how to resurrect a balky snow blower. (But when the category on the TV show “Jeopardy” happens to be “Wars of Ancient Greece,” I can kick their butts, a skill for which no one to date has offered to write me a sizable check.)
Now that spring is finally here, I should be doing something to my cold weather machines to make sure they start up again next winter. But I don't know what that is, so I’ll once again shove them into a corner of the garage and tell myself that spider webs probably have a positive effect. And I’ll drag my warm weather equipment out from a different corner and tell myself that rust and dust are just what a tired old lawnmower needs.
After 30 unsuccessful minutes of yanking on the starter cord, I’ll do the obligatory cursing and weeping and gnashing of teeth, and then I’ll load the mower into the trunk of the most frightening and unfathomable item in the entire garage, the car. If the car won’t start, my checkbook is really in trouble.
|Home||Current Faith||Current Funnies||Faith Archive||Funnies Archive||Contact Bill|