Saturday, June 12, 2004

Less than handy

"If you build it, he will come." Best damn man-movie of all time. I remember watching it in the theaters. Something about that doctor stepping out of the field of dreams to save that girl and give up on baseball forever, every man in the theater was shifting uncomfortably and clearing his throat. At one time or another we've all given up a dream and I think that's why that scene hits us all so hard.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a mechanic like my old man. He could fix anything. From the time I was old enough to understand Righty-Tighty, Lefty-Loosey I tinkered with shit, grease on my face, oil on my jeans, chalk on my elbows. I disassembled my sister's alarm clock. Didn't know to unplug the motherfucker first and nearly blew my nuts off when it zapped the shit out of me. My old man was a mechanic, not an electrician. I was winging it.

I had a Camaro when I was a 16. Bought it used and somewhat crippled. I was confident I could make it like new. When I brought it home my dad stood up from under the hood of his pick up, tossed a greasy rag over his shoulder, and watched it sputter up the driveway, rumbling like a 747. My head must have been three feet in diameter, engorged with pride, when I got out of the car. My old man squinted at it, his hands on his hips, and said to me, "Boy, you held your ankles on that one."

He was right. I got screwed. No mechanic in the world could have saved that thing. And I was certainly no mechanic. My mom made me park it in the street because of the oil leak I couldn't seem to fix. The tach didn't work below 30 mph so I fixed it...then it quit completely. It only took two engine fires for me to learn to keep a fire extinguisher under the seat. The transmission cracked, spilling oil anytime I parked at an angle. I patched that with caulk. Not the smartest idea I've ever had. I had a lose screw in the driver's side door that rattled whenever I'd shut it. No problem. I took that bastard apart and lo and behold I found the screw. Then I couldn't get the door back together so from that point forward I just had the open metal frame hugging my left hip. I made the best of it though, that's where I stored a blanket so when I hooked up with the honeys we could go parking at the lake. That was probably the smartest thing I ever did with that car since I used the blanket three times...to put out electrical fires in the dash.

After two years my dad said to me, "Boy, have you considered college?"

That's when I became a broker.