(Editor's note: This column is part two in a series.)
I was sitting in my office the other day when I overheard part of a conversation. It went something like this: "You have to know how to cut up a whole chicken ... 'cause sometime you're gonna have a whole chicken."
And ... that got me to thinking. Just how many things are there in this old world that we need to know how to do because "sometime" we're going to need to know how to do them?
Take, for example, changing a flat tire.
In today's society, practically everyone over the age of 15 drives a car at one time or another. And everyone will eventually walk out to get in the car and find they have a flat tire. Or maybe the tire will go flat while you're driving down the road. In the worst case scenario, you might have a huge blowout while traversing the mountains of Montana.
In these high-tech, modern times we live in, many folks would use their cell phones to call for help. Friends, family members and roadside assistance professionals are usually pleased as punch to come out into the rain and sleet and snow to help change a tire. Sometimes, if they are in the area, one of the fine folks from the highway patrol will assist -- or at least find someone who will.
But what about that day or evening or dark dreary night when you have a blowout and there is no one to call, or your phone is dead, or you simply do not carry a cell phone?
Yep ... That's right ... You'll have to dig around in the storage space (what we used to call a trunk, and my father and others called it a turtle hull) to find the jack and tire tool and spare tire. Then the work really begins.
First, you kneel down on the asphalt and feel around until you find the proper spot to place the jack. Then you remember you need to slightly loosen the lug nuts on the tire rim before you raise the car (and tire) off the ground. With lug nuts loosened ever so slightly (and I do mean slightly) you begin to raise the car.
And your car rolls off the jack.
Suddenly, you remember you were supposed to set the parking break and, if possible chock the one of the tires to prevent the car from moving while you were raising it. So you get up, reach into the car, set the parking brake, and look around for a large rock to place behind a wheel to keep the car from rolling again.
And you drop the rock on your foot.
So, limping slightly and mumbling unmentionable expletives about yourself to yourself, you manage to get the rock in place, the car raised and take the flat tire off the hub. You place the spare tire -- or donut - onto the hub, tighten the lug nuts, let the jack down, put the jack and tools away and throw the flat tire into the storage space. And just at that moment when you slam the hatch shut, wipe your hands on the damp grass beside the road and start to climb back into the driver's seat ...
One of the fine folks from the highway patrol rolls up and asks if you need any help.
Oh well, at least you know how to change a flat tire.