i went to start the car and it was deader than elvis presley, maybe even larry king.
i don't like that.
not at all.
dead. dead. and dead.
you see, all my knowledge about all things mechanical and auto-like came from a dad who owned a screwdriver, hammer and monkeywrench.
that was it.
if those could not fix it, there would be no fixin' to be done.
car problems typically required other tools (vw bugs excluded).
so i was short-changed in the auto repair wisdom impartment department.
end of story.
it's actually not a bad way to go, that is until something like this occurs—a very larry king car.
it really is the sort of affair that puts a crimp in my day.
stops my life abruptly quite honestly.
so after hours of pondering and deducting, i concluded it had to be the battery.
that may seem like a safe bet given the symptoms but we are talking about a 200,000+ mile car here.
it could have been a car stroke for all i know.
i mean, i'm assuming cars can have strokes too.
but this didn't strike me as such a problem.
there was no drooling or left side paralysis to speak of.
it had to be the battery.
but now what?
have it towed, checked and a new battery installed?
a car long in the bluetooth with high oil pressure and all?
i had to do something less invasive or maybe better put, less espensive.
i imagined whatever it was going to take, it would require the better part of the weekend.
that is until a flash of man brilliance poured down upon me.
take the old battery out.
drive it to an auto parts store.
have them hook it up to an electrocardiogram, and let's see what's shakin'.
if it's as dead as i suspect, buy the cheapest battery they have and bring it home to plug in myself.
the only problem: that would require i remove the old battery and put the new one in.
i'm going to be honest, i'm not a fan of electric shock, specifically of the battery sort.
it's a long story involving a dumb bet about my tongue and an eveready.
a really stupid bet whose payoff was not nearly worth the fourple dog dare that coerced me.
anyway, it had been nearly fifty years and it was time to get over it.
so i engaged.
now taking the old battery out was childs play.
a twist here and cable loose there and presto, it was free.
off i went, proud as a peacock, feeling pretty darned manly to tell ya the truth.
walked into the nearest napa parts joint.
had the thing tested.
and sure enough the needle fell squarely on larry king.
bought a new battery.
drove it home.
placed it in the saddle.
now all that was left was the connecting.
carefully, and i mean carefully, i slipped the positive contact over the positive post, something i double checked eleven times.
i tightened it.
so far so good.
next, the negative connection.
i held the contact over the post for a fortnight, or so it seemed, going over and over in my head "is this correct", and if not, who would find my charred remains, and would they even know it was me, and even if they did, would anyone know where my important papers were, and did i ever make that one change to the will, and would my son name his first child, girl or boy, after me in memory, and why didn't i pay attention in shop class.
stuff like that.
i took a breath and slipped it on and the moment it made contact the car horn began to blast it's security warning.
i fell back onto the driveway as if hurled by a sudden explosion.
my heart was somewhere in my throat, my ears pulsing from the short shrill blasts of the horn.
but i smiled a broad grin, i did!
minor annoyances to a job completed fully.
i did it—a bit unglued but i did it nonetheless.
it was a proper diagnosis, a proper treatment, a proper price and a proper feeling of man accomplishment.
simple yet satiating.
and now my life can once again proceed as planned.
i return a man uninterrupted.