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Friday, April 23, 2021

"What's wrong with my car?" I asked my new mechanic.

Everything, was his response in short.

As he listed the problems with my vehicle, a Subaru Impreza with 181,000 miles on it, I could see the movie-style montage in the background with the hour hand on a clock running in circles until it turned into dates and months being ripped from a calendar.

And I had no idea what he was talking about because my knowledge of automobile is strictly limited to "if car go, good; if car not go, bad." 

A bad water pump, leaking coolant from a coolant thing, the sway car (or bars) were bad, my lower ball joints needed replacement and then there were some rusty caterpillars. The latter turned out to be rusty calipers, which I found out when I repeated my list to a colleague. "Do you mean calipers?" he asked. "Well, yes, of course," I said. "That makes more sense," after which I retreated to my office to hide my ignorance.

At least until the next time I open my mouth.

I left the auto shop with a road-worthy vehicle that's half new minus $1,400 that was well worth it.

The car's movement is tight and responsive. And it no longer feels like my front end is going to fall off. I mean the car's front end. My front end fell off years ago.

Now I can visit the office of my other newspaper in Spooner. I can travel to Cable, starting point of the historic Birkebeiner cross country ski race. I'll spend some time out at Herman's Landing, the bar at a resort that has seen monster muskies for decades.

Of no little significance is friends and family in Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire. Plus the hot beef at the West Hill Bar, where I bartended 30 years ago.

It will be nice to get around. Even without a front end.

Peace and mobility unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


  1. I love the story about the caterpillars aka callipers. And glad you are road-worthy again! Thanks for making me laugh!

  2. The key is to find a competent, honest mechanic. Looks like you did. I was about ready to junk my aged Subaru Impreza. Then I switched mechanics. The new guy read a laundry list much like yours. I put a little less $ in, and voila! I am sure this old car will now last me for the duration.

    I still have a "feeler" gauge in my tool box. That was the last time I could work on a car.