[Arm-netbook] Totally derailed topic

Christopher Havel laserhawk64 at gmail.com
Tue May 30 17:10:33 BST 2017

Pardon me for saying, but the thought that I don't have enough common sense
in my own dang head to know right from wrong, I find that a little

I learned honesty from a man named Tommy Locklear. You've never heard of
him, but he was a wonderful and kind person, while he was around. You might
be a little skeptical of my claim when you learn that Tommy was a local
mechanic for most of his life -- mechanics not having much of a reputation
for honesty in most places, or so I hear -- but I'll offer up a story as
evidence that this fellow was perhaps the exception to prove the rule.

When my grandmother passed, she left behind, amongst many other things, her
1991 Ford Escort LX. Silver on the outside and light grey with dark grey
and black accents, it was basically the color of a silent film. Not having
much alternative, it quickly became Mom's car, for many, many years (she
eventually bought a gently used '98 Saturn in the early 2000s, which
replaced the Escort.) This was the sort of car where the speedometer pegged
at 85, but you never actually wanted to go that fast in it. At 65mph, the
car vibrated concerningly. At 75, one tended to be of the persuasion that
the doors were about to fall off. We never did peg the speedometer, so I
can't tell you what that was like. Mom wasn't much of one for lead-foot
anyways... although there were times when that car went a little faster
than it perhaps should have, so that we'd get someplace on time after
leaving home late.

At some point in our lives, we moved from a little podunk town in North
Carolina, to Chapel Hill (of UNC basketball fame) so that Mom could get
some graduate school experience. It was during this time that our little
Escort sedan sprung a rather nasty oil leak. Mom took it to some nearby
garage and they read her like a book. Knowing she knew absolutely nothing
about cars except how to drive them, they told her it would be thousands of
dollars for a new head gasket. She decided -- luckily -- to get a second
opinion from Tommy. Well... Tommy came and got the car and brought it back
to our little podunk town (out of which he operated) and took it into the
shop. We were along for the ride. He popped the hood, poked around a
little, and put the car up on the lift before poking around a little more.
Then he called Mom over. He pointed to a little plug in the bottom of the
crankcase, and explained that the plug, which (although I'll never know for
sure, I was too young at the time) was probably for draining the oil out of
the sump, had a broken seal. He replaced the plug and its seal for the
princely sum of fifteen dollars, and that was the end of the leak.

Tommy's whole life was filled with stories like that. He was an excellent
mechanic for decades. He eventually had to stop working on cars, though,
when his diabetes caught up with him enough to have his left leg amputated
at the knees -- see, despite running a thriving business and being perhaps
the most honest mechanic in town (and the town knew it!) he never could
quite afford to keep the medication going that would have kept his diabetes
in check... he eventually died, a few years ago, of a heart attack. I will
note that the man that took over Tommy's garage after the amputation,
pretty well ran it into the ground because he was not nearly as wholesome a
man as Tommy was. Kind of a shame.

I guess the point here is, if we have good role models around us, we can
learn from our fellow humans what we need to know. As for me, I'd rather
live in the here and now than dwell on what might happen --but can't be
known for sure-- in the hereafter. Besides... isn't there something a
little bit sinister, in a "Hotel California" sort of a way, about
essentially living in a dream where you can have anything you want as long
as it's not waking up...? ;)

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