10 January 2013

Vehicular Manslaughter

Cars seem to hold a unique place in the collective heart of America.

They also seem to hold a unique place for American men in an organ lower than the heart. I'm obliquely saying that there's a strong correlation between car parts and dangly parts.

This troubles me.

When I go to the doctor, I don't feel strange when they write me a prescription for oral steroids or antibiotics or whatever. "I could've done that!" says no one, "if only I had their knowledge, experience, and equipment!"

Could I spay and neuter my own pets? No, probably not (yes maybe). Certainly not safely. And I don't sit there and waffle on whether or not I should hop in there and offer to hold something for the vet while they cut something else. I figure I should leave that up to the pros, as there's a good chance I'd screw it up. And I don't even feel bad about it. I don't get paid to handle dog bits.

Can I do my own taxes? Yes. Can someone else do them better and faster for a nominal fee? Absolutely yes, fuck, yes. When online taxes stop working for me maybe I'll hire a real live human one day. Or, fingers crossed, a real live human/tax robot cyborg.

You could go on like this forever. I leave the bitchin' guitar solos to the experts and stick to clumsy power chords -- without guilt. I can cook -- but I still go somewhere and pay someone to make steak because they are much better at it than I am.

So why is it that when I have any car problems at all, I feel like I have to sit on the sidelines nervously eyeing the spot I was standing when my genitals fell off?

Cars are something that you (mostly just dudes) "should" be able to handle on your own. You're supposed to know about them and you're supposed to perform all of the basic maintenance. On your own. Go buy a book! Get some wrenches and shit and before you know it you've swapped out your straight six for a V8 with a supercharger. Oil change, scheduled maintenance, tune up.

The fact that I could, technically, change my own oil if I possessed the equipment and time makes me feel like a dandy when I go to the oil change place. What a fool they must think me! I always picture the oil change techs smoking out back and laughing all the way to the bank.


"What and indulgent fop this man must be to pay for such a basic a service as an oil change!"

"I heartily concur! I'll sail all the way to Corsica on a schooner paid for by his fancy powdered wig!"

And then I overhear them and I cry and it ruins all my mascara.

But it's even worse when my interaction extends beyond "I am four months past due on my oil change here is my money thankyou."

For instance when I go to the doctor I say "My knee hurts when I extend it" and he says "well it sounds like... it could be this? Patella, ligaments, ACL, joints?" No one feels bad 'cause he's the doctor and he's supposed to know this stuff and I'm not.

But then I go to the mechanic and say "Duhhhhhh my car makes this like, sound, when I'm on the freeway. But only sometimes? It's like a... like a rattle? Or a buzz?"

And they're just staring at you. Staring through you! They know if you're there, at the mechanic, that you have no way of knowing what's really wrong with your car. They hold all the cards. And if you're a dude, then they're also thinking "You are not a man."

Men should know of shakes and buzzes and rattles and we must be able to go the mechanic and say "Uh yeah I got a bad alternator, can you swap it out for me? I'd do it myself but I hurt my arm replacing the brake pads." Then the two of you exchange a knowing glance, the mechanic understands that he is with a peer and moreover someone who Knows His Shit and you go read Car & Driver in the waiting room. Or probably you brought a newspaper with you because you got up at 6:00 in the morning to buy one with your coffee. After that it'll be a full day of clearing brush from your acreage and picking up some quicklime to get rid of that troublesome oak stump.

But that's never the case! I'm convinced they see me in flip-flops and think, "I thought we won that war." Then they tack on a 20% Shame fee which I'll gladly pay because I've earned that shame.

What it comes down to is: Should I buy bulk leather and attempt to re-sole my own shoes?

Of course not.

So why cars?

I'm lazy and I hate doing research so I'm just going to assume it has something to do with the fact that TruckNutz exist and LoaferNutz do not.

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