Blessed Be the Automotive Technicians, and More Unconventional Prayers

flash me bored

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.

f-bomb

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.

car-wash-fail

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.

don't feed the employees

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 burgerdexron 3

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.

Satire is Not a New Art Form, Anti-Smoking, and More Victorian Death Ephemera

This is as good as anti-smoking propaganda gets- from 1870, no less.

Smoking was just as nasty then, it’s just everyone died from other stuff before they could live long enough for smoking to kill ’em.

The longer I’ve been an ex-smoker I absolutely hate the smell of tobacco smoke.  I don’t have much of a sense of smell, and I’m surprised I have that. Even so, the one thing I can always smell is cig smoke, even from far-off, which sucks.  Why can’t I smell peonies and lilacs in May, but I can always smell some inconsiderate bastard’s cigarette?

Perhaps it is cosmic payback for back in the day when I used to smoke at my desk- and it was perfectly cool to be inside, at work and hot-boxing smokes at the same time.   I’m sure I had to annoy someone with my two-pack-a-day habit of hot boxing 120 menthols down to the filters.  My car ended up smelling like a dragon’s colon- because the first thing I would do when I got in the car was light up.  The first thing I did when I quit smoking was pay the detail guys- dearly- to get the cig smell out of my Celica.  It was nasty, and the inside of the glass on a 2000 Celica is not the easiest in the world to get clean- especially the back glass.

She just might be Hitler in drag, spreading the clap.  You never know.  Had to throw that in there. Public service announcement from 1943.

Yes, I am still fascinated with Victorian death art which is macabre, and I should find another hobby, but there is so much cool stuff out there – and not always dealing with the subject of death- which is public domain and is a lot better artwork than I could ever come up with.  I can scribble with Sharpies and that’s about it.  But the Victorians not only did some awesome artwork, there was some pathos there.  It was more grandiose than it should have been, and just plain treacly sweet, which made it cool.

You could get in trouble big time for displaying this in a public school.  You could offend the Muslims, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the militant atheists, the Hare Krishnas, and who knows who else.

The irony here is that kids can go to public school and have this kind of drivel shoved in their faces and that’s perfectly okee-dokie:

As long as it’s not “Christian” or “Moral” in any kind of way, then we tolerate it, kids!

Then again, “tolerance” (especially as it’s defined in regard to political correctness and its associated idiocy) is the wrong word.  Tolerating something doesn’t mean we like it, and it doesn’t mean we encourage it.  I used to tolerate long-assed car rides in 70’s era cars (with no A/C, mind you) pinned in the center of the back seat between two sadistic siblings for hundreds of miles.  I didn’t like it.  I certainly didn’t encourage it.  But, being too weak to end up with any other position besides squashed in the middle, I had to tolerate it.

Tolerance- as it’s framed today- is actually appeasement, which is a very different concept.  Appeasement is the wussy position.   It’s the equivalent of feeding alligators.  No matter how much you feed the alligator he will always be hungry.  Just see how well it worked for Neville Chamberlain.  My oldest sister didn’t stop harassing me and stealing my stuff and kicking my ass just because I sat back and let her keep doing it.  She just did it all the more, until one fine day,  she took my car without permission and ran it out of gasoline and ran it low on oil.  I saw red, and took 17 years of retribution out on her in five minutes.  I don’t approve of physical violence, but something had to give somewhere, and I couldn’t keep on appeasing her any more.   Appeasement just let her know it was OK to keep on kicking my ass and stealing my stuff.  Kicking her ass taught her that it wasn’t OK anymore.

I bet Hitler got a lot of rides back in the day, at least in a figurative way. Carpooling still is a creepy thought though.  It would be my luck I’d end up with a serial killer or someone who insists on cranking up the country music. At least Hitler liked opera.

Hitler wasn’t a role model by any means, but he did have a taste for Wagnerian opera, and I can appreciate that.  I can’t say I approve of Nazism, genocide, or anti-Semitism, but Wagner did write some cool operas.  The only thing difficult about opera is that there aren’t too many operas written in English.  If you plan on going to an opera, or even plan on listening to a recording or watching a DVD, if you can get your mitts on a translation of the libretto first it makes a lot more sense.

I found a Victorian death card (these are common, and I will need to troll for some more good ones) that lent itself quite well to shall we say, electronic embellishment:

Should our current president fail to be re-elected, I’ll be printing these out and passing them out like party favors.