Busted knuckles, gearhead misadventures, or call it backyard follies, if you will. These stories continue to roll in ever since I shared my personal experiences in the January editorial. I appreciate knowing that many of you are willing to share your own adventures. As long as they keep coming in, we'll continue to print them! Besides, if we put you in print, this is the perfect opportunity to get the coveted CHP license plate and stickers.
I really enjoyed your "Knuckle Busters'' column in the recent issue (Shop Talk, Jan. '09). I am a recent subscriber and love the mag and all the tech articles. I can relate to some of the painful yet hilarious things that can and do happen to us gearheads and have experienced many of these injuries with the appropriate abuse from my buddies. I would like to relate one such incident in hopes that all who read will get a chuckle and maybe a little nostalgic prompt about their own misadventures.
I was 15 and had just been allowed by my dad to buy my first car, a '56 two-door 210 Chevy. I was granted permission even though I didn't have a real license yet because the car was up on blocks with no engine or transmission. My father recognized the benefit here, as I would learn about cars while I was trying to piece together this beautiful classic. I spent over six months mowing lawns, bartering, and scrounging for usable parts to make this into a running machine. The car had been parked beside the house in full view of the street and all my friends, male and female, were able to take note of the progress.
Two of my best friends and I finally got it cranked one day and were starting the fine-tuning process when three girls showed up in their daddy's car. All three of us guys were pumped up and trying to impress the young ladies with our astute knowledge and capabilities. With the engine running I decide to really impress the girls by pointing out all the components of the modern day engine...hoping I could remember all the different pieces. I proceeded to point them out with the girls huddled around me (I reveled in that part): the battery, carburetor, valve covers, and so on. I must have been overpowered by the smell of perfume because things went bad very fast when I pointed out the water pump and stuck my fingers into the unguarded fan! The engine and my immediate howl of pain were drowned out by the roar of laughter from my two "buddies" and the giggles of the girls. The color of my face matched the blood from the cuts on my fingers, but the hurt was to my pride. The school session ended quickly and the three girls drove away in daddy's car giggling as they went.
I eventually forgave my buddies for their insensitivity but they NEVER let me forget what a great teacher I was. That was 45 years ago, and I remember it like it happened yesterday. I still think about it and chuckle at myself. I hope you got a laugh out of this also.
Not the dumbest thing I have ever done, but it still makes me laugh 31 years later. When I was 16, I had a '73 Cutlass that had some valve guide issues and liked to foul plugs. One day I was trying to find which plug was fouled and had a problem. It had snowed and had begun melting and I was standing in a pile of slush while bending over the fender holding a brace with my left hand and pulling wires with my right while the engine was running. Somehow I grabbed the boot, and I guess my hand was wet or the tip was exposed through the boot, and I was shocked. Not just once but repeatedly, and I could not let go of the wire. It kept my hand pulsing rapidly to where I couldn't physically let go. It didn't hurt terribly, but again, I was just standing there and while my mind said to release, it wouldn't happen. Fortunately, it wasn't long before the engine died and I could let go. I was laughing then and am today. Even funnier is that I recall having to eat with my left hand for several days.