Earl’s Gotta Die

I hate auto mechanics.

This isn’t an untrained bias, mind you, but a deep and cultured loathing that has stemmed from years of experience with these crafty emissaries of Satan. Sure, they seem rather innocuous at first glance. Heck, most of them don’t even look like they know how to tie their own shoes. But the second you walk into that grubby world of post high school curricular metal shop, you’re in trouble. Because in this world, it doesn’t matter that they only got a 12 on their ACTs and haven’t smelled soap in years. This is their world, Honey. And you don’t stand a chance. Because there’s only ONE king of the castle, darlin. And his name is ALWAYS Earl.

You see, I’m one of those girls who has always thought I was smarter than Earl. I’ve spent enough time staring at the jumble of “stuff” beneath a car’s hood to actually know a few things, and I’ve worked hard to learn certain terminology that makes me sound as if I know what the heck I’m doing. Words that say, “Hey, you know I’m perfectly capable of doing this myself but I just don’t have the time. So I’ll let you do it Earl but don’t even THINK about screwing me over because I’m wise to your tricks.” In the past, this has served me semi-well.

But then, my starter broke. And heaven help me I don’t even know where the starter is or what it looks like. Still, I’ve been around enough to know that telling Earl that little fact is like opening a vein in the middle of a feeding frenzy. Not gonna do it, Earl. So I do a little homework, and then I pick up my phone. But here’s the thing, I was prepared for an Earl. What I DIDN’T count on was a Doug.

So, I’m talking to him, giving him the basic information of the vehicle, year-make-model, etc… crusing along thinking “Yeah, I’ve got this!” But you see, whereas Earl is a completely predictable species, Doug is like the LX model for brains and craftiness. He not only has the bare essentials, but a few surprises thrown in as well. So, after a few moments (during which I had effectively dropped a few crucial terms like “displaced rod” and “fly wheel”-whatever the heck that is) he just came at me point blank with, “So, is it a dual-shaft cam, or a single-shaft cam?” Whaaaaat??? Uh… “Beg pardon?” I helplessly try to pull up Google on my laptop, Oh no, oh no! No doubt smiling evilly to himself he repeats the question. I can practically hear the dollar signs “ching ching” and I know that HE knows he’s got me.

What the heck is a dual-shaft cam? Are you making this up, Doug? But no, there’s no help at hand. Google has failed me and so I’m forced to give in. NOOOOOO!!!

Curse you, Doug. I’ll get you …someday.

(Note: I first wrote this in my journal a couple years ago, but it’s as true today as it was then.)

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