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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Now You Start It… Now You Don’t!

I saw this great magic trick today. Just super.

I had my car inspected this afternoon. Now, normally I’d wait until the last minute for this type of thing — and often, until after the last minute, driving around with expired stickers on the car. I’ll do that sometimes. I’m a rebel. And lazy. And forgetful. So it happens.

But not this time. This time, I remembered, and went to the garage a full three days before the last inspection expired. That’s crazy, folks. And never mind that the next two days are weekend days, or that I mainly went to get out of the awful, life-sucking tedium of the crappy thing I happened to be doing at work today. Never mind those things — I was on top of the inspection, before the car was illegal. Somebody pour the champagne.

So, here’s the magic trick part. I took the car to this gym near my office. I’d never been there for an inspection — it just happened to be convenient — so I didn’t know how they operated. And apparently, they’re into the ‘audience participation’ type of car inspection. Which I’d never heard of, frankly, but it’s out there — as I found out.

The way it works is this — instead of taking the key to the car and ushering me into a waiting room, the garage guy had me park it where he wanted it. And then told me to hang around, because he’d ‘use’ me for the inspection. So I poked around, while he kicked the tires and looked under the skirt. Standard stuff — nothing technical, nothing mechanical, really.

Then he pulled me into the game — I turned the key over in the ignition, without completely starting the car. That let me help him test the lights, the wipers, and the turn signals. It was a quick inspection — in and out in fifteen minutes. No worries, no problems; thirty bucks, and that was it. I never even popped the hood. This was the ‘nothing up my sleeves’ portion of the Grease Monkey Magic Show.

So, we shook hands, he opened the garage door, and… the car wouldn’t start. I’ve never had trouble starting the car — ever. One turn of the key, maybe two — that’s all it takes. And in that inspection garage today? Nothing. Not even a growl. I don’t know how the hell he did it. Those mechanics are good.

So, a half an hour and a hundred and twenty more bucks later, I got out of there. With a new battery — and yeah, probably one I needed, but still. I’d just like to know what sort of mojo the guy used to drain the battery from the other side of the hood. And having me sit in the car the whole time — that’s brilliant. Regular David Copperfield stuff, that is.

Anyway, the car got inspected and I’m out a hundred and fifty bucks or so. But there’s plenty of juice under my hood now, and I saw a nice magic trick in the process. Sort of an expensive show for a Friday afternoon, but hey — still better than getting that crap at work done. Some things in life truly are priceless.

Permalink  |  3 Comments

3 Responses to “Now You Start It… Now You Don’t!”

  1. mrhaney says:

    sounds like how my luck goes.

  2. #Debi says:

    You took your car to the gym? Maybe that’s where the magic comes in… :^)

  3. Charlie says:

    Hey, ‘gym’, ‘garage’… whatever. They’re both places that charge me exorbitant prices for things I don’t really understand, and don’t always use the way I should.

    And see, by that logic, you’re lucky I didn’t get it mixed up with ‘porn store’. ‘Gym’ is mild, by comparison.

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