Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cruise Control


Continuing the theme of stupid crap I've done in my life (and believe me I've just begun), I'd like to share with you a story of when Ingenuity took a ride with Curiosity, and Curiosity brought his best friend Stupidity. Ingenuity is a good friend of mine and he helps me out everywhere, the solver of my problems and the maker of my money. But when you invite Curiosity, you usually get the tag along, Stupidity. The problem with him is that you never know when he's around until.. well.. Stupid happens.

I was employed by a Langley based fireplace installation company at the time. I worked on a crew, we called ourselves "The Fart Duckers". It was because one of us had some serious gas issues, and utilized the upward motion of air through a fireplace vent to test out the draft with his ass. Of course he would wait until we were up on the roof screwing on the rain caps to the vents. The draft worked every time. Funk aside; it was a temporary stepping stone in my convoluted career path to where I am now, but a necessary one. This being the largest company I have worked with up to that point, I learned a few lessons about dealing with bosses and crazy ass schizophrenic kleptomaniac co-workers.. I'm hesitant to mention names cause I'd be scared my life would be stolen, then given back just to be stolen again. Seriously, I learned about how screwed up one can be and still manage to get a pay cheque, and how much methane gas a plate of onion rings can give to one over indulgent fireplace installer with a sick sense of humor.

I was on my way home after a long day of work, and it was hot outside. There's my disclaimer. It was hot, whatever. In my back seat was a clothes hanger, the standard wire clothes hanger. I would like to say the hanger was there because of all the dry cleaning I had to with my expensive clothes, but such was not the case. The hanger was there cause like a dumb ass I had an issue with always locking the keys in my car. Before you start to pass blame on my stupidity of keeping the clothes hanger IN my car, please know that it was there due to the fact that I had already used it, and not for future use. I'm not that dumb. Yea, I became an expert at breaking into my car, and at one point I had three or four hangers in the back seat of my car all stretched out and untwisted. When people would ask me about them, I would just tell them I loved smores, shut up.

So where was I, I was on my way home and it was Hot with a capital H, hot enough to turn on a nun. I get a little bored while I drive sometimes and I like to pass the time thinking of ways to make things better, or easier. As I go through life, I realize my life's goal is to make things easier for myself and for those who pay me to. I get paid to make other's life easier, but in the business world they like to call it "more efficient" cause efficient.. that's a money making word. My car at the time was a 1991 Honda Civic. A great car it once was, and if you ask Kupes from Cochrane, it still is. OK, that's a lie. He hates the car, apparently it blows more smoke than a gay locomotive, but it was once a great car. Honda Civics have a quirk however. The gas pedals take no pressure to activate. When I say no pressure I mean a well placed fart would get that thing moving. That got me thinking, why did my foot have to be what pushed it? Hello Curiosity. A smile grew on my face. I could possibly make a working cruise control system just by using the hanger in the back seat, welcome back Ingenuity. I grabbed the hanger. Knock Knock, who's there? Stupidity.

Engineering a cruise control system is not a simple task. Engineering a cruise control system while driving 80kph was a feat worthy of award, but I did it and when it was complete it worked like the hot damn. The basic design was the stretched hanger having enough rigidity to press the gas pedal, was rigged between the pedal and the steering wheel. Honda Civic steering wheels have three spoke design so I opted to use the bottom spoke of steering wheel and wrapped the hanger around it once. The excess hanger I just bent back into the dash. I could adjust my speed by simply moving the hanger through my steering wheel, and when I had to stop just pull it back enough to release all pressure off the gas pedal. I had it arched enough not to get in the way of the brake pedal. Safety first, one must be able to brake. I was so impressed with my design I was already thinking about the patent process. How would one patent this? Why hasn't anyone patented this already? How in the heck would I spend all that money?

I was nearing my destination, and disengaged the cruise control, the smile on my face like permanent ink. I drove almost the entire way home without using my right foot. I pull up to the intersection where I had to turn left and my smile quickly disappears. Stupid happens, and happens swiftly, without warning. As I started to turn left the hanger began to twist around the steering column and my steering became impaired. The pressure of the hanger quickly took away the ability to steer and I began to panic. I was turning left through traffic and couldn't stop, but I couldn't steer my car left enough to make the corner either! I decided I had to make the corner at any cost, and for a second I thought I could use the leverage from the steering wheel to break the hanger, but it just became tighter, tight enough now to trigger the horn. I was taking an unnaturally wide left with my horn blaring away. At first I thought I might be able to miss the curb, but I didn't, and it wasn't a small curb either. Anyone who has taken that left onto 88th from Glover in Fort Langley knows what I'm talking about. The curb is about eight inches of unforgiving 300 year old concrete. I smoked the curb and my car took a flying jump and came crashing down about three seconds later. I stopped. People were watching, and I can't help but wonder what must have been going through their minds while I was frantically trying to unwind the hanger from my steering wheel in a car half way propped up on a curb with horn blaring. I tried hard not to make any eye contact, but my ears were burning in embarrassment. About 23 seconds later, I got myself out of the jam and drove off the curb and went home.

When I got home I pulled Ingenuity out of the car, and told Curiosity to take a hike. Stupidity who was no where to be seen apparently left on his own. I wish I knew where he went so I could tell him not to come back, but he always did. Sneaky little bugger.


6 comments:

Tan said...

This is perhaps my all time favourite Alex tale. I've tried to retell this many times at parties and failed. I think the real difference between Alex and most other people is that Alex actually shares his episodes of stupidity while most of us keep them quiet. Looking forward to the next installment...

ChrisW said...

I have heard this story a couple of times and it never fails to get me laughing so hard that I have tears, big fat juicy tears, rolling down my face. Alex, this is one of the most priceless stories and you tell it so well. Thanks for cheering up my day with it!

Mattie said...

Pure genious!!!

Mattie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mattie said...

time for a new post dont you think??? I am getting antsy about what the next great thing might be, dont keep me waiting!

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