Monday, January 29, 2007

The Four Words

When you're a young buck, spraying your seed like a rotary sprinkler, the four words you most dread hearing are "I think I'm pregnant."

Maybe that's five words with the contraction, but don't go all John Grammar Law on me.

When you're forty-five, married, broken down, and live next to a glue factory, the four words you most dread hearing are "My tire is flat."

I heard them yesterday.

Maybe you don't dread those four words. After all, not all of you are entirely incompetent when it comes down to the mechanicalities of an automobile.

For the rest of us, though, it's a disaster. Even something as simple as changing a tire is like being handed a manual for the Sikorsky CH-53 helicopter and being told to fly someone to the mall. If there's one guy in the world who's most likely to appear in the headline "MAN CRUSHED TO DEATH CHANGING TIRE," it would be me.

Now there's a way out if it's a flat tire some distance from home. Call some sort of tire professional or something. But when it's in your own driveway, well, there's some sort of manly requirement that you do the right thing and change the tire.

So that's me, the guy with the car manual out, reading the "changing a flat tire" section word-by-word. I've changed flats twice before, but I still don't trust my knowledge of this arcane and highly dangerous process with unpredictable and ferocious sounding words like chock. Plus every single instruction in the flat-tire-changing-process seems to include a caution ending in the word death.

The mandatory physical injuries when changing a tire include hand lacerations, bruised knuckles, and pulled muscles in the chestal region. Those injuries, of course, are considered incidental if you are killed in the process. I'm still worried that the car will begin moving silently from the garage, into the house, up the stairs, and roll over me in my sleep.


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