The Mechanic


It takes a lot for me to go to a doctor. It feels like a no win situation. Either they’re going to find something wrong with you and you’re burdened with a new handicap or they find you in perfectly excellent health and you feel like you wasted your afternoon.

With your health like all important life matters ignorance is bliss.

For some reason I don’t follow that mantra with cars. I’ll take them to a mechanic every so often and I find myself in completely helpless situations. With a doctor when they try to hawk a treatment on you, you have some intuition about how your body works. With an automobile you, or at least I, am completely clueless.

You go in for an oil change and they tell you you need new brakes. You take their word for it and suddenly a $40 debit becomes a $400 commitment. Then they spring on you other charges.

“You need your air conditioning filter changed.” They told me.

“How much will that be?”



“Plus the $40 labor charge.”

“So it’s $80?”

“Yeah, come on bro, he’s got to go through the glove compartment. It’s a whole process.”

So I told him to hold on to the air conditioning and just do the brakes. He pressured me on how important a healthy air conditioning is with the summer coming, but I was firm and told him no. I don’t know if I would have had such will power if he was a doctor and told me I had to bend over and cough.

They call to tell me the car is ready. I turn on the ignition and suddenly the air conditioning is making a funny noise it wasn’t making before. I tell the mechanic this. He goes into the glove compartment and pulls out the filter. The $40 labor charge took him approximately 15 seconds. He pulls out the filter and there is a paper towel like substance clogging it up.

“I don’t know how that got in there.” he said. “But we ended up changing your filter for free.”

“That’s very generous of you.” I told him wondering if doctors pull the same trick and clog up your arteries when you’re not looking, so they can charge you for return visits.



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