The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It


If you think that this post is going to be about keeping your home neat and tidy I am sorry to disappoint you.  This is not about the Hoover or the Mighty Mite or Orecks or Eurekas or Dysons.  This is about the most powerful vacuum cleaner ever invented – your car – guaranteed to suck as much money out of your bank account as possible.

If you’re as mechanically-challenged as I you too will find yourself at the mercy of your local “car repair shop” or garage.  I can add gas to the beast and I now know where the windshield solvent goes (it seldom runs out here in Las Vegas) and I do know how to run it through a car wash.  I even can put air in the tires.  And that’s about it.  For the rest I rely on the “car doctors” to do their thing.  Of course, I should share with you my view on doctors – something which I used to incorporate into my seminars.


1.  The Internist – Knows Everything and Does Nothing.

2.  The Surgeon – Knows Nothing and Does Everything.

3. The Psychiatrist – Knows Nothing and Does Nothing.

4. The Pathologist – Knows Everything and Does Everything – Too Late.

I have had the misfortune of having various cars treated by each of these kinds of car doctors.

1.  The Internist – You bring your car in because there’s one of those little annoying lights that just went on in your dashboard.  Despite the fact that you’re looking at the Owner’s Manual you can’t seem to figure out which of the little diagrams pertains to your particular service light.  So, thinking that your car is likely to explode you take it in to have the problem corrected.

The internist mechanic sticks his head in the door, sees the offending light and begins poking around under the hood.  After twenty minutes at this he explains that the reason your light is on is that you have a fuse that’s blown.  There’s nothing really wrong with the car at all.  (Sigh of relief).  Unfortunately, he doesn’t happen to have a fuse in stock with the required amperage.  You leave in search of a place where you can buy the correct fuse and install it.

2.  The  Surgeon – You bring your car in because there’s a subtle but strange noise that occurs intermittently while you drive.  You really can’t identify the noise much more specifically than that.

Your surgeon mechanic listens attentively to your description of the problem.  He hooks you up to one of those fantastic automatic diagnostic machines which will surely identify the cause of this noise.  After a few minutes of being on this EEG for cars machine, a magic code appears.  This will tell him what is causing the noise.  So he looks the code up in his book but doesn’t think that this is actually the reason for the problem (so why does he have this machine?) and says that based on his years of experience he is sure he can get rid of your noise.

As you listen to him he raises your car up on the hydraulic rack.  You go back to the waiting room.  After an hour you go to the service bay and find that the car surgeon has called in a few assistants.  You also notice that your car’s engine, catalytic converter and muffler are lying on the ground.  You call to reserve a rental car for the three days it will take them to reassemble most of the parts that they have removed from your vehicle.

3. The Psychiatrist – You bring your car in because you’ve noticed that your car isn’t accelerating as well as it used to.  You’re wondering if there’s something clogging the fuel line or perhaps it needs a tune-up. 

The psychiatrist car mechanic requests a little additional information.  He asks, how long has your car been unhappy?  Have any great life changes occurred in your garage – perhaps the addition of a newer model?  Did this happen all at once or have you noticed that your car has been suffering a slow encroachment of this malaise?

You leave thinking that you will try using premium gas to see if that fixes the problem.

4.  The Pathologist –  Your car has stopped while you were driving.  Nothing you can do will get it started so you call the car repair service and they dispatch a tow truck to bring you and your vehicle into the shop.

The pathologist mechanic looks at your vehicle, verifies that it will not start and hands you a business card for a used car dealer, pronouncing your vehicle to be officially dead.  It’s time to get out there and get a newer model – and do your part to help support the economy.

I don’t know why but every time I go in to have something done to my vehicle, the phrase “like lambs to the slaughter” runs through my head.  If I ever got filthy rich I know how I would handle this problem.  I would wait until the ashtray was filled (since I don’t smoke I would have to take up the habit) and that would be my clue to trade my cigarette-clogged vehicle in for a new one.  The way I figure it – the cost would be about the same as trying to get the old one fixed.


Comments on: "THE VACUUM CLEANER" (10)

  1. Having a good laugh! I know exactly what you mean!

  2. What about the clairvoyant mechanic? That’s the one who looks up your records and notices by date your car is approching its recommended timeout. Then placing his hands on your car and looking toward heaven declares the end of the age is about to be fulfilled (for the car that is.) and under inspiration declares the expected consequences if a change is not made in anticipation of that event?

    • We don’t have those in Las Vegas as they have all gotten work doing mind-reading acts in various of the city’s casino lounges. And they’re very good. I saw one do his act the other night and he told the guest whom he had invited on stage to hold out her hand. After gazing at her palm for a moment he pronounced her fate, “You’re going to lose.”

      (He probably was right).

  3. As an engineer I probably know more about cars than most “factory trained motor mechanics” and I used to give them hell when they tried learning on-the-job at my expense and time.

    Then I taught my wife everything I knew about cars and servicing and now she gives them hell….in fact after 20 years, she knows more about cars than I do!

    • The next time i’m in your neighborhood I’m going to stop by and either you or your wife can give me some training. I would much rather compensate you for your time and education than continuing to pour money down a bottomless pit!

  4. Ha! I always run into the internist. Every time. 🙂

  5. There are certainly a lot of them out there.!

  6. My last mechanic was The Psychiatrist. Nearly questioned me to death! But me nor my car felt any better when we left!

  7. I had one of those back in Chicago. (I think I remember seeing a Certificate of Completion from the Freud School of Mechanics on the wall of the garage).

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