The day was bright and sunny, warm but not hot, when Tyrone and his cousin Johnny cruised into Motorheadquarters. Johnny, Motor-head’s 13-year-old nephew from the wilds of Nevada, was hanging with Ty for a couple of weeks, and hadn’t seen his aunt Narleen for ages.
When the boys wheeled their bikes up to the lube bay, Narl was fussing over Ruby, her immaculately restored 1948 Hudson Commodore. Narleen didn’t at first recognize her long-absent relative. "So what is it? Two whippersnappers for the price of one day?"
Then, as she turned to face them, she realized who was with the Roneman. "Johnny, Johnny, Johnny... long time no see, squirt. Where’d you dig up this kid, Rone?" They were suddenly clustered in a three-way embrace and questions tumbled from Narleen’s wide grin. "How’ve you been? How’d you get so big? How’s your mom and dad? How’s your brothers and sisters?
"What the heck are you doing here?"
After all the question were answered to Narleen’s satisfaction and she turned, still beaming, to her beautiful car, Tyrone spoke up, "What are you doing to Ruby? Is she broke?"
Narleen, wiping her hands on a shop towel, looked at the boys over her shoulder and said, "Guacamoto and I are going on a camping trip for the weekend, and I’m giving her a check before we go. And the correct word is broken, and no she is not."
Ty was quick to defend, "Broke, broken, what difference does it make? How do you know what things to check?"
Narl was patient, "Using proper grammar always makes a difference, my young kinsman, you wouldn’t want anyone to think you’re stupid would you?" She did some torture moves on the top of his head. "I remembered some old columns that your dad wrote about preparing the family car for vacation and printed them. Here, check ‘em out."
She handed over the sheaf. Johnny and Tyrone perused in silence. Johnny was the first to pipe up, "It says here that the first things to check are the tires, air pressure and condition. Did you do that?"
"Yes, sir, I did."
"And the spare?"
"Gotcha covered John-meister."
Tyrone was reading a different list and asked, "Did you go down these lists and check everything? Belts and hoses, brake shoes and pads, all the fluids, including engine oil, transmission oil, differential oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and coolant level?"
"And finally, did you change the oil and fliter and... ‘Fliter,’ what the heck is that? Hey, Aunt Narl," Tyrone held the paper out and pointed, "it says right here that you should change the oil and fliter, see."
"Come on, Rone you know that’s a typo."
"Okay, okay, you know I’m just jokin’. What about this last goofy thing about walking around your car, thinking positive thoughts, and giving the car love pats? Sometimes my dad can be so weird."
Narleen bristled. "Tyrone, you should show your father more respect. He loves automobiles. He believes that they are life forms, live beings. You comprende what I mean? He thinks they’re really alive and respond to their owners’ vibes.
As I entered the shop and strolled over to the lube bay I heard Tyrone say, "Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all before. Imagine a guy who idolizes any old pile of junk, then writes the whole behavior off as positive thinking."
Narleen glanced at the boys and held her finger up to her lips. "Hey Mo’. How was lunch?"
"Excellent," I pooched out my belly "I feel well fed. So what’s going on here? These guys helping or hindering?"
I saw Tyrone and Johnny walking in circles around their bikes gently touching the seats and handle bars and muttering things about the best bikes they’ve ever had, loyal and dependable, and I realized what was going on.
I draped my arms around their shoulders, drew them close and said, "You know boys that stuff only works if you’ve done the proper component tests and checks. If you skip the most important part, your wheels might turn on you, if you get my drift."
They used their index fingers to make little circles around their ears, scrunched down giggling and said together "Sure, we get it Mr. Motorhead loony tune."
They made a fast exit. The 14 mm wrench I’d lobbed clattered in the street behind them. Motorhead gets no respect.