I am not a do it yourselfer. Yes I can do a few things if pressed to, like change a tire or paint a wall, but mostly I am just thoroughly inept when it comes to home and auto repairs. Oh I have tried. I have really tried. But what takes a plumber a half hour to do takes me as long as it took Frodo and Sam to carry the Ring into Mordor.
Change out a garbage disposal? Three days over Christmas break plus a tetanus shot. Fix a leaky toilet? The handle to turn off the water to the toilet broke off and the flood came. Ran outside to turn the water off to the house, and that was broke as well. It won’t turn all the way off. On the bright side, I found out that anything can be fixed by duct tape. While laying in two inches of water in my bathroom I wrapped half a roll around the the end of the pipe until no water leaked out. Had to rent a wet vac and a fan for a couple of days to suck out all the water from my bathroom and hallway carpet. And these are just a couple of the tales I lived to tell about.
But as Charlie Brown always goes back and tries to kick the football while Lucy holds it, I went back for just one more attempt at being Mr. Fix-it.
My truck’s antenna snapped off one day. So I bought a replacement antenna. It was short and made of rubber, easy to install and it worked really well. I took the truck to get it washed. The attendant took the new antenna off. Unfortunately, he took the WHOLE thing off. So water from the car wash poured down into the connection cable to the radio. From that point on my radio sounded like it was underwater. The water had ruined the cable. The next thing that happened is that somewhere from that secret place in the brain that convinces you to do the dumbest things imaginable, this voice came to me and said, “you can fix this.” It is a seductive voice, hard to say no to. So I bought all the replacement parts and boldly rode “into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell”
It was summer. It was hot. I was in the garage, contorting my 270 lb body into the front seat of the truck to get where I needed to go. In spite of all that, it was relatively easy for me to disconnect the damaged cable from the radio. Got out of the truck and proceeded to pull the offending cable out of the truck. Holding the recently freed cable in my hand, I gazed at the hole in the front of my truck. A thought struck me. Perhaps I should have tied some type of string to the cable so I could pull the new cable back through. “O! Little Voice! If thou wouldst have spoken to me just a moment before I pulled, I would not be in this mess!”
“What you normally do in this situation is tie a piece of fishing line to the cable so you can pull the new cable back into the correct hole.” several people told me upon hearing the story of why I have a hole covered with duct tape where an antenna should be. I keep seeing horses running around as I rush to close the door to the barn. Part of me believes that I could start unscrewing things and taking apart the dash and other areas of the truck, but I know that no good would come of it. At the moment, all I didn’t have was a radio. Now was a good time to stop before the garage was full of truck parts that I could never put back together.
I blame all this ineptitude on my father. He was the ultimate do-it-your-self-er. The only thing he wouldn’t do was electrical because he electrocuted himself once and did not find it to be a pleasant experience. So you would think that growing up with all that building and repairing going on that I would have a vast wealth of knowledge and experience at these things. Nope, sorry. All my father ever let me do was hold the flashlight. And yell at me for not holding it correctly. And maybe ask me to pass a tool now and then. So basically, when it comes to being a handyman around the house, I am good for anything that involves me holding a flashlight. I am the bomb when it comes to flashlight holding. I live for power outages just to show off my talent.
Please don’t misunderstand. I do not feel that I was a deprived child. I grew up learning how to draw and paint and take pictures, play the drums and the upright bass and pretty much explore any area of arts and creativity that I wanted to. I am thankful I was given the opportunity and freedom to experience those things. Just would have been nice to have a little bit of practical knowledge before I pulled that darn cable out of the truck.
The radio still does not work. The CD player does, and I have a little tiny radio with an earphone to catch traffic reports when I am on the freeway. Someday I will go somewhere and get my radio professionally fixed. I don’t know why I haven’t done that yet. Perhaps punishing myself for pulling out the stupid cable, or maybe too embarrassed to take it somewhere, who knows. I do know that when I take it in to a shop and they ask what happened, I am telling them I bought the truck that way and I don’t know.
But let me tell you this, when it comes down to a final analysis, I do hold a pretty mean flashlight
THE BLACK HOLE OF THE BLUE TRUCK
(INSERT YOUR OWN CAPTION)
* excerpt from “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred Lloyd Tennyson.
“Hold the Flashlight” Blog writing songs.
“Devorzhum” Dead Can Dance
“A Little Help From My Friends” Joe Cocker
“Swamped” Lacuna Coil