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Les Bidrawn Editor's Letter - Resonator

A Mace In Grace

Les Bidrawn
Dec 7, 2006
Epcp_0711_01_z+editors_letter+les_bidrawn Photo 1/1   |   Les Bidrawn Editor's Letter - Resonator

The entire day I shirked my chores. I was going to change the oil on both cars, which I figured would meet my quota for good deeds. I was saving us from untold thousands in repairs and I needed to be sharp for the job.

I had purchased high quality Elf synthetic oil and the requisite oil filters and oil filter removers. I slide my virgin Craftsman creeper (been dying to use it since Christmas) under the Eurovan and begin to uncork the pan.

This is one of man's most vulnerable poses. Half your body is under a ton of metal while the other half (the sensitive half) is exposed to the elements. The kids are playing kickball in the cul-de-sac. I hear a solid thwap which means someone has punted a winner. Instead of cheers, however, I hear the pregnant silence typically reserved for when the ball is heading somewhere bad. I'm watching oil flow from the pan when the ball lands squarely on my jimmies. The car hampers my reflexive doubled-over impulse; I hit my head on the hot pan and get a face full of oil. The kids scatter as I emerge looking like an extra from a zombie flick.

OK, accidents happen. I go back to work, albeit nervously. I hear the tell-tale clang of the mail slot as Kevin (our mailman and hardcore VW fan) shoves more bills through. Right on cue, our 100-pound Labrador, Nikki, goes crazy-barking and scratching at the door. Nikki is a good dog, but, like most canines, hates people who don't stick around for a proper, butt-smelling introduction. I should have known the kids failed to shut the door properly as Nikki bursts through it.

With gunfighter-like speed, Kevin whips out his can of mace and shoots a quick burst right between Nikki's eyes. Although he looks tough, Nikki's a big pussy and starts screaming like a puppy. I grab him, apologize profusely and throw him in the pool. I pay Kevin off with a bucket of Mothers waxes and polishes.

Catastrophe averted, I get back to my oil job. As I brush debris from my chin, it feels as though a blowtorch has been pointed at my face. Although I had washed Nikki, I hadn't removed the mace from my own hands. It's in my eyes, nose and mouth. I can't figure out how people in movies manage to function in tear gas-filled rooms. I guess on-screen vomiting is too realistic. And that's what mace does... it makes you barf.

The kids hear my distress and run over. And you guessed it-step straight on my poor jimmies.

The wife thinks I planned all this-an elaborate set-up designed to further my goal of installing a garage lift (a nice two-tiered job from American Automotive Equipment). Yeah, I sacrifice my eyes and baby-makers for a lift. Uh-huh. Sure.

I'm not that smart or masochistic. Moreover, the garage is filled with crap destined for some mythical garage sale in 'the future.' The idea we'd actually use the garage is preposterous.

It's time to leave the Bidrawn compound, head somewhere cars are welcomed and respected. I pull into Euro Sport, where my men Vik and Raffi have a lift ready. I have easy access to the M3's drain plug while an oil receptacle waits at my side. I grab my virgin oil filter wrench and get busy. The filter is on tight so I need to use extra torque to remove it. Of course, I slip, gash my hand and much profanity ensues.

For some mystical reason, I am unable to work on a car without hurting myself. Vik knows this and it's no surprise a towel and bandages are close at hand. Apparently the new Euro Sport rule is: Les is not allowed to wrench on cars.

So I watch Vik poke around the M3 while admiring his gigantic rollaway filled with fabulous tools. I don't know what half of them do, but that doesn't matter. I can still appreciate their beauty. I suppose some people regard my camera gear with the same reverence. To me, they're just tools, chunks of metal and glass; to non-professionals they're pieces of functional art.

I like watching Vik work, and not just on my car, either. Some guys have an innate mechanical sense, a propensity to figure out how things work and how to improve the design. Vik is one of them.

I guess that makes me a patron of the mechanical arts. Like a tone-deaf opera lover, I appreciate a skilled artist but realize that will never be me. Eventually, my garage will be finished, my grand plan realized. And although I won't ever utilize its full potential, I could invite my mechanic over for a private session.

By Les Bidrawn
242 Articles

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