• Happy Father’s Day


    A few days ago, after changing the left front turn signal and putting new wheel covers on the MVoD, I decided it was time to re-stow the jack that has been rattling around in the back for several months.

    Like folding a map or trying to get an inflatable bad back into its original packaging, stowing the jack turned out to be nearly impossible. The handle comes apart in two separate pieces, which must be inserted into a plastic sleeve that in turn wraps around the jack. The whole bundle is then crammed into a little cubby hole and held in place by a plastic bracket that will not fit around the jack and handle once they are removed unless one is willing to defy at least one of the fundamental laws of physics.

    “Sometimes,” I heard my dad insist from nearly eight hundred miles away, “you just have to talk to it.”

    Mowing the Field
    He grins every time he says it—the same grin I know I’ve inherited—because by “talk to”, he means “swear at”. Colorful invective is one of my father’s specialties; his bilingual tirades (usually directed at uncooperative machines) are practically works of verbal art.

    My mother disapproves, of course. She is appalled that any of her children would heed their father’s horrible advice—which makes it all the more vexing when a stream of profanity proves to be the perfect lubricant for whatever needs unsticking.

    “Come on, you miserable piece of-” I muttered under my breath, trying to wedge the jack and its handle back into the space behind the right rear wheel well, “get in there!”

    Frustration increasing proportionally to the seeming futility of my efforts, my utterances grew ever more inappropriate until, finally, I was able to tighten the wingnut that held the retaining bracket in place.

    “Sometimes you just have to talk to it,” I muttered to myself, wiping the sweat from my brow. “Thanks, dad.”