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Thursday, March 1, 2007


I looked up from the tedious power steering line repair I was doing on a 1986 Lincoln Towncar when my ding-ding motion detector heralded another arrival. A ninety’s era Chevy S-10 drove into the shop, its driver’s side head lamp area smashed in, and the bumper guard frame in front actually broken under the empty headlamp socket. It looked like it was winking at me as I approached. A tall thin young man exited the driver’s door and gestured at the winking eye.

“You fix. How much?” The young man asked in a heavy Russian accent.

“I’m sorry, I don’t do body repair, but I can recommend a…”

“No, no… just light, just light.”

“I can’t put in a new light assembly without something to mount it to,” I explained, seeing close-up Winky was going to need some major revamping before a headlamp assembly would ever give him his sight back.

The young man nodded, and looked at Winky for another long moment while I started calculating how long it would be before the Lincoln owner walked in the door.

“Can’t put just light in?” He asked. “How much just light?”

I pointed to the smashed up area and said, “look, I have to be able to mount the light to something. I can’t just duct tape the headlight on. It…”

“Can’t just straighten?” He asked, pointing at Winky’s closed eye.

“I don’t do body work,” I repeated. “You need an Auto Body shop for this repair. Until the frame is fixed up here, you won’t be able to put in a light.”

The young man nodded once again; but I could tell he thought I was putting him on, and somehow all I’d have to do is crowbar Winky’s closed eyelid open, and we could then jam a headlight in there. I liked Winky. I wanted to fix Winky; but unfortunately, mechanical parts have parameters. I went in the office, and retrieved the business card for a body shop only a couple miles away. When I gave the young man the card, he looked at it, and then at me.

“Can’t put just light in?”

I just shook my head no this time, and tried desperately not to allow the look of total frustration sweep across my face. After staring at me for another minute, he sighed and slipped back into the driver’s seat. I took one last look at Winky, and then turned back to confront my recalcitrant Lincoln. I had a feeling Winky was going to have a duct-taped eyeball soon. :)

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