Shame on me for what was running through my mind last night when Pastor was talking about how being an automotive technician must really be a calling from God. I was giggling to myself. Yes, it is, when you stop and really think about it, but my mind is a bit jaded from being around these guys for so many years.
I guess I never really thought of technicians as having a calling, or a sacred trust, even though I have read some of what Martin Luther wrote on vocation. I grew up in and around automotive shops, and let’s just say the experience didn’t feel exceptionally holy.
When the name of God was mentioned, it was usually followed by the word “damn.” Dad isn’t a particularly salty dog with language- he did try to clean it up around women, anyway, but all of his friends were. One of them (and yes, being the geeky little creature I was, I counted) managed to use a certain four letter word that starts with the letter “f” an amazing thirteen times in one sentence.
Dad had a good friend who was into really primo vintage VW restorations. The man’s body work was absolutely pristine- but his private shop where he did the restoration work was completely wallpapered on the inside with nudie pictures. They weren’t tasteful nudies, either. These were porn-star nudies in filthy poses. Worse yet, at least for me, all the nudies were women, and therefore not particularly aesthetically pleasing to me. But it was his shop, and boys will be boys. I’ve supervised technicians before, so I get it. It’s like running a day care, only not nearly as cute. Many of these “boys,” in spite of their knowledge, training, and areas of technical prowess, have an emotional maturity age of right around 12.
Until the mid 1990s or so it was common practice for parts stores and automotive suppliers to sponsor and give out promotional calendars with either completely naked women or very scantily clad ones. Those sort of things don’t really offend me as such- what else would Dad’s buddy use to wallpaper his shop walls-but the promotional nudie calendar fell out of favor probably as a casualty to political correctness. Sometimes women do venture back into the nether regions of an automotive shop, and we wouldn’t want to offend their virgin eyeballs, I guess.
I don’t believe in political correctness. I’m more of the type to say, “If you don’t like it, don’t look at it,” even when it applies to tasteless nudie calendars.
If you don’t like my Ronald Reagan calendar (and yes, I really do have a calendar from the Reagan Ranch) nobody said you had to look at it. I am more tolerant than maybe I should be in some ways, but there are some battles worth fighting, and some battles that I’ll gladly concede to avoid the conflict.
Protect your chili dog.
I knew of one techie who would grab a big bag of chow (or two) from Burger King every day. He was a tiny, wiry red-headed dude (somewhat reminiscent of a 5’1″, 90# version of the Burger King, interestingly enough) who would pack down about 5,000 calories or so worth of Whoppers, fries and other delectables every lunch hour. The pisser was that he was the transmission guy (a very busy guy, back in the days of the 700R4s and their constant meltdowns) and he never bothered to wash the ATF and/or CV grease and/or U joint lube off his hands before stuffing those Whoppers down his throat.
Greasy burger with a side of Dexron III. Yum. Maybe it was the Dexron III that kept him from gaining weight. Or maybe he’s just one of those enviable individuals who can eat like it’s the end of the world and never gain an ounce. Bastard.
I wonder if he’s still alive. That was back in 1993.
I have to wonder if his wife’s still alive too. She was every bit of 6’5″ and 450#. She wore the Suburban she drove on those days when she brought her man his Whoppers. They would sit together and snarf Whoppers. It would have been romantic if…nah…you can’t read anything remotely amorous in to that.
In all seriousness though, the message is that life and work are supposed to mean something and to have a purpose in this world. Even if I don’t get what that something is.
2 thoughts on “Blessed Be the Automotive Technicians, and More Unconventional Prayers”
The “Flash Me I’m Bored” image made me laugh. You may be surprised to find that sort of thing generates results. In high school, we made a sign that said ‘SHOW US YOUR TITS” and put it in the window of my car as we drove on the freeway. We actually got flashed a couple times. That’s a success rate of somewhere around 2.5%, probably, or maybe less, but it was worth it.
You don’t see porno-dens like the one you described any more. You’d get sued. Around the turn of the century I worked in an all-male office where one guy would occasionally find disgusting porn and then show it to the other guys in the office. Nobody minded, but even then I knew the guy was risking a shitstorm if it was discovered. He was a nice guy, though, and I guess it wasn’t discovered, because although we’ve fallen out of contact, I saw recently that he’s a national manager for the company we worked for, so I guess he played it smart.
I like the notion that crafts are God-given or at least God-sanctified. I don’t know that’s ever applied to me, though, because I don’t have skills so much as talents. I don’t mean that either as a knock on myself or a boast, but just my assessment of my situation. I’m affable, articulate and I have a pleasant voice, but I can’t really do, make or operate anything. So I don’t know if the craft thing applies.
Yeah – it was this guy’s private shop. Customers would never ever see the inside of this place. But it was very common back in the day for techies to have really filthy pics everywhere. I grew up around it so it was pretty normal to me. Dad was a little more highbrow than most techies in that he stashed his girlie pics and cartoons. It was part of that culture. Now it’s just moved underground.
I think everyone is given something to contribute, and the discussion we had at church on vocation did make me re-evaluate some of my predispositions. If you have little to no technical understanding or ability, I can see where you would see the techie who works on your car as a sort of demi-god. This seemed odd coming from my Pastor who has his doctorate and is a very gifted and erudite person – to have such a deep appreciation for the guy who does the maintenance on his Hyundai. Sometimes we don’t always appreciate those whose skills make our lives easier. It was just a weird example for me because I’ve gotten to see these guys in their weaknesses- and then realized we all have more intrinsic value than we know.