I’m No Gomer

I love the show Andy Griffith. One of my favorite characters is Gomer Pyle. He may be a goof as an impromptu deputy or even a marine but when it comes to working under the hood of a car, he has the magic touch.

I’ve never had this gift. No matter how hard I try, I’ve never been compared to Gomer.

For instance, our van needed work. It was starting hard. So, to prevent my wife from being stranded on some remote highway, I took it to our mechanic. He told us the fuel pump needed replaced. $400 later we have a new fuel pump and the car still starts hard but not as hard as before. So I guess he was right.

Unfortunately, just a few days after getting the Dodge back, my wife was driving and it began to chug, lurch, and eventually died. She called me to report the bad news. She suggested we call the mechanic and then have it towed.

I, however, insisted on driving past the van on my way home, because I should be able to get it started. I don’t know why I thought this. I have no historical evidence of mechanical aptitude. In fact, I’m the guy who blew the engine in his Dodge Colt in 1984 because I tried to change the oil.

Anyway, I drove to the disabled van, lifted the hood and checked the oil (I don’t know why I did this…it seemed appropriate at the time). I got into the car and turned the key. The engine tried…it really did. But nothing happened beyond the starter churning away. It was as if the engine wasn’t getting any fuel. All that money and for WHAT! I slammed the hood closed and called the tow truck in my fury.

Of course the mechanic was closed for the Memorial Day weekend and couldn’t work on the car until the following Monday. He called me to report his findings late Monday afternoon. I waited for him to say that he’d installed a faulty part, or forgot to hook up the fuel line, or miss-diagnosed the original problem. I was ready to pounce, to accuse, to demand justice and my money back. But he defused my self-righteous anger and quickly replaced it with humiliation.

“It was out of gas.”

I made sure to pick the van up after he had left for the night. I quickly wrote the check for $146 and placed it into his night drop box. ($75 for the tow, $15 for gas, $10 for labor, and $46 for a new fuel filter while he was in there.)

Like I said, I’m no Gomer. I’m more of a goober.

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