Frankly, I consider myself somewhat worse than mediocre when it comes to mechanics. Not that I haven’t made some attempts to establish myself as a respectable neighborhood fixer of things mechanical. We’re not speaking of just the family car, but of all things that need to be repaired, I.E, the toaster, for instance. When it came time to un-stick a slice of toast that had jammed the gadget, clever me, I attempted to dislodge it with a table knife. We all know that table knives for the most part, are made of steel, (unless you’re on a picnic.) I chose steel.
I was instantly reminded why they place electric fences around prisons and pastures. By the time the bread browner had received the last of my ministrations, it was ready for the recycle bin. To be perfectly frank, I never cared much for it anyway, and, my wife certainly should have reminded me to unplug the toaster before I attempted to “fix” it.
Auto mechanics….now there is a subject that someone as auto oriented as I, should excel in. I remember my first attempt at auto repair. I think I was around 17, and my brother Lowell, had an old International “corn binder” (as it was called at the time) pickup truck. It needed a tune up. Unfortunately for the corn binder, and my brother, I offered to do the job. I quickly had the carburetor off the truck and had scattered it’s parts from here to next Wednesday. It was a snap to take apart, I might add. And, I wasn’t too concerned about the haphazard way I had eviscerated the carb; no, as clever as I was, I felt I’d have no trouble reassembling it..
I reveled in the thought that my brother would be pleased as punch when he gazed at the gleaming result of my hard work. When I put it together, I had a few extra screws; I felt it was pretty considerate of the International-Harvester Corporation to add the extras. You don’t find that today, that‘s for sure.
I struggled along for most of an hour, and with a few whacks with a hammer here, and a stripped thread there, it was back together, bolted back on the manifold, and the fuel line reconnected. It looked much the same as before.…I stood back and admired my handiwork. It fairly gleamed.
Nothing left to do but start the corn binder. Let’s see: insert ignition key, step on the starter, (that’s what you did in those days) and …….. you’re probably thinking that this would be a good place to end the story, aren’t you? Well, despite all my efforts, and after running the battery down, I realized it was hopeless. When my brother returned, I first showed him the gleaming result of my labor, then explained the situation to him; that his truck wouldn’t start, and that I couldn’t understand what was wrong. I told him I felt it might have been a layer of bad gasoline in the tank. He really wasn’t too interested in my theories, for he soon had a friend tow the truck to a real mechanic, who quickly discovered that I’d left a teensy, tiny, but very important steel ball out, when I put it back together.
It was the last time I attempted to repair a carburetor for probably thirty years. The next time I attempted such a project, I had a repair manual, with step-by-step instructions. My work then, was a success.
As far as our toasters are concerned, when not so long ago, we had an occasion arise when ours needed attention. My wife quickly unplugged it…..and hid the table knives.