While I was in Morgantown over Thanksgiving I recorded a happy holiday message:
Archive for November, 2010
Today my car didn’t start, because it needed a new battery. I knew this because three weeks ago a mechanic in Asheville told me I needed a new battery. He also said I needed new coolant, but he said it in a way that set off my bluff radar, so I told him I’d come back. The mechanic today replaced the battery but told me the coolant was fine. Aha, Asheville mechanic! So you were bluffing! You were going to pocket that coolant money, weren’t you? After all, how would I know if the coolant had changed?
I don’t have a total lack of trust for car mechanics, but I do feel it’s in their best interest to repair as much as possible. I don’t know how cars work, so that leaves me read their body language for tells. They’re going, “Alright, you could use a new air filter, and your back tires are bald…” Meanwhile, I’m staring them down through my Oakley’s going, “I call… all in.” The problem with going all in against car mechanics, is sometimes your car dies a few weeks later.
Fortunately, I was only headed to the gym, and of all the thing to not do, exercise is one of the easiest. Furthermore, I did get three extra weeks out of that battery. It’s not the six months I was hoping for, but it’s still savings. While other folks are buying a new battery every five years, I got five years and three weeks. Over the course of one-hundred years, that’s real savings – possibly $10.
The other positive was that I enjoyed jumping my car. It’s the one car thing I know how to do. Not much you say? I’m sorry, I just made my car go from not starting, to starting. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is, an the moment you breathe life into your own car, your masculinity goes, “Yep, still got it Rusty.” My masculinity’s name is Rusty by the way, and he talks in the third person.
If you ever find yourself in a similar bind, and don’t know what to do, here are twenty-one simple steps that worked for me:
1) Find another vehicle that starts (it helps if you’re home for the holidays and you can use your mom’s car).
2) Find jumper cables (it helps if your mom has jumper cables)
3) Pull up you mom’s car into a place where the cables can reach.
4) Find triggers in both cars to release hoods. Don’t be startled when you hear the hood pop – that’s what it’s supposed to sound like.
5) Raise both hoods, and find the doo-hicky stick thing that holds it up. Rusty calls it the “hood prop,” and then he spits tobacco into an old coke bottle (very disgusting).
6) At this point your hands will be getting cold, so it’s a good time to go inside and ask your mom for mittens.
7) Correctly guess whether to attach the black cable first, or the red cable. You have a 50/50 chance, so the odds are almost in your favor. Also, if you put on the wrong one, I don’t think it will kill you. If you have a smart phone, you can Google which to put on first. (Rusty said it was black first, and then made a racist joke, which I didn’t laugh at, and won’t share).
8. Turn on your mom’s car
9) Leave running, and don’t lock the keys in car
10) Turn on your car.
11) Don’t immediately turn your car off.
12) Correctly guess which to do first: turn off your mom’s car, or remove the cables. Again, you have a 50/50 chance, and I don’t think you’ll die if you get it wrong, but I’m about 50/50 on that.
13) Find a gas station that can take your car at the last minute on a Saturday. It helps if your mom knows a mechanic, and makes the call for you.
14) Explain to Gary that you need a new battery, and when he asks how you know, just look serious and say, “I did a reading.” If he looks impressed, good. If he inquires further, break down and admit that you didn’t listen to your last mechanic.
15) Find somewhere within walking distance to hang out that isn’t a gas station (McDonald’s doesn’t count as not being a gas station).
16) Keep your cell phone close, and turn the ringer volume up. The call could come at any time, and you need to be ready.
17) Prepare yourself mentally for various repairs that need to be done, and think of good excuses to avoid them. For instance, “Oh, that part could catch fire? Well, I just love a nice fire in winter!”
18) Pay for battery and ask for receipt. Say it’s for your “records.”
19) Drive home, park, and continue to not lock keys inside car.
20) Place receipt in “records” (i.e. the recycling bin)
21) Put on slippers and take a nap, you’ve been through a lot.
Note: If you don’t feel like jumping your car, you can always call Geico’s towing service, but then you’d have to find your car insurance, and good luck with that.
Asheville’s “Mountain Xpress” is kind enough to occasionally publish some of my “Superior Poetry” (their words, not mine). This week you will find I have experimented with a different form of poem – the ancient Chinese Haiku. The Haiku requires a 5-7-5 meter, which has the effect of making everything you write sound slightly wiser.
The Haiku format
Makes everything you write
Sound slightly wiser.
Did you feel that wisy-ness?
Here is the link to this week’s Mounain Xpress installment of
I’m not good with dates, so I didn’t realize this would come out right at Thanksgiving. Since there is an absence of holiday haikus, I will write one right now, that you can put in your pipe and smoke, if you’d like.
I am thankful for
my superior talent,
which is humbling.
Not bad right? “Superior” you say? Agreed. Here is another one, while we’re in the spirit of Thanksgiving:
I am thankful for
My family, friends, and abs
I have washboard abs.
That one’s funny because it’s true.
Admittedly, it’s tough to pack much into a Haiku, but I suppose that’s the point. The ancient Chinese poets were going, “Hey, what can I say, if I have limited space?” Let me try again:
Quote from Ancient Chinese Poet I just made up:
“Hey, what can I say,
if I have limited space?”
Let me try again.
Do you see what I
just did there? Apparently,
here as well. Booya.
So it’s not that hard
To just keep writing like this.
A bit annoying?
Once again, here is this week’s Mountain Xpress Superior Poetry installation: Same Link Again In Your Face. Be thankful for my poetry, it’s that time of year.
I’ve always been a big day-dreamer. It’s usually when I’m driving long distances, and suddenly I’ll be lost in an exciting brain plot. The recurring one lately has been that I’m framed for murder, and then sentenced to life in prison. Once in jail, I make an unlikely escape, and then go to New York City, where I become a street musician, and have coins tossed at me, while playing popular cover tunes on guitar at a barely passing level. Eventually, I become a great songwriter, and start putting out successful albums. I can’t tour of course, because I’m a fugitive, and my face is on America’s most wanted list.
It’s an odd day-dream, because why not just day-dream of being a successful musician, without the hassle of the prison escape and the fugitivery? Starting backwards, I suppose the street performer thing makes sense given I’m wanted for murder. You can’t exactly get a good day job, and New York City might be the best place in the world to hide. I’d just get a beanie with ear-flaps, grow the beard out, and wear some horn-rimmed thrift-store glasses.
On a side note, it makes me wonder how many actual street-performers are criminals who can’t get day jobs do to their record. All you need is three or four guitar chords. If you play “Country Roads” you’ll get a dollar from every John Denver fan, and a dollar from every West Virginian…so, not that many dollars actually. But I’m sure there are plenty of four-chord money-makers.
After several years of covers, my music becomes so good (obviously), that a big time manager takes a liking to me, and wants me to tour. But I can’t tour because I’m a fugitive! So, I just start producing great studio albums, under an alias (probably “Sandman”). By that point, I’d be a pretty odd bird, and I’m thinking my style would be kind of Tom Waits meets Lady GaGa. In other words, Bjork. Because I’m never seen, the media would obsess about whether I have some sort of social phobia, or obesity issue, or that I’m actually the guy from Coldplay taking on a different identity. No one ever guesses that I’m JOE ZIMMERMAN, from the top of America’s MOST wanted list!
Now, prison is one of my biggest phobias, so I think the initial day-dream stems from that basic fear, and then figuring out what to do in such a predicament. I’ve seen enough History channel prison shows to know about the Mexican, white supremacist, and black gangs that form, and I don’t think I’d fit into any of those groups. Furthermore, people do go to jail for crimes they didn’t commit, so it could happen. In a way, my brain is just planning for the worst, boy-scout style.
It’s weird that the escape plan I dream up is always the most meat-headed jail break possible. You’d think I would brainstorm some cool Shawshank escape. Nope, it’s always me just chilling in the yard, and then a shank-fight breaks out between two gangs. While the guards are breaking up the fight, I climb the wall, deal with the electrical shocks and barbwire (through sheer pain tolerance), and sprint to the nearest forest – somehow avoiding the rubber bullets that are being shot at me by marksmen? I then bury myself under some leaves and branches for a few days until the man-hunt simmers down. They can’t look in the same woods forever can they? I know, I’m pretty smart.
In some scenarios, the search dogs find me, but I win them over, and we become best friends. I think this is realistic, as I’m pretty good with dogs. A bloodhound comes at me with the bite-to-the-shoulder move, and I start rubbing his belly. Now I have a sweet search dog companion for my long hike to NYC. Granted if it was a German Shepherd search dog I’d be screwed – they hate me.
By the way, if David Blaine really wants to do something special, I think a prison escape would be the way to go – way more impressive than sitting in a box. He needs to rob a bank and then post the video to YouTube, with a note that says, “Hey Bank of America, it was me, David Blaine.” Then they’d have to take him to jail. At that point, he sneaks in a camera, and records his escape, again posting the whole thing to YouTube. Voilah! That would make me a true believer.