Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why can't we all just get along?

Reading the news this morning and I found this. Now I know it's a humorous presentation but something got my hackles up. His groundless speculation that the attendent was somehow subhuman for appearing to have lost the war on drugs really got under my skin. Mr Englund is well educated and obviously a member of the upper class. As am I. I'll admit to feeling contempt for some of my fellow travelers on Spaceship Earth. It's natural and thankfully doesn't last long. I remember the last table I had to bus.

Here's my response to the story from an email sent this morning.

Mr Englund,

With respect to your humorous posting entitled "Oregon: A Paradise for the Mentally Incompetent" found at LewRockwell.com, I have to ask exactly how do you know the gas station attendant was abusing illegal drugs? Perhaps I'm insulated from the methamphetamine scourge by living here in New England. I find it curious that meth addiction is so common and easy to spot. I can almost picture in my head sleepy little logging towns in the Cascades inhabited by drug abusers. Lumbering around as if in some George Romero zombie film. Surely if that is the case then the question has to be asked, how is it that all these poor souls are falling out of polite society and submitting to debauchery. If this poor fellow has made the steps to stay employed in the face of his addiction shouldn't he be applauded for his efforts to stay out of jail. Could it be that perhaps, with six over privileged SUV driving yuppies who were in such a hurry to purchase gasoline and get away from the likes of him that in one short instance he cut his corners too close. An understandable mistake for any reasonable person to expect from someone suddenly placed in a hectic position. Perhaps he simply mirrored the animosity he sensed in you and purposely left off your gas cap knowing full well that your engine light would come on. Maybe it's something he does often when shown such contempt and disregard for his basic dignity. 

Consider yourself lucky. Many Americans don't read the manual and simply bring their car in for a diagnostic check. Some shops around here charge $80 for the service. Perhaps he even brings in business to the shop this way. He may not be the ignorant animal that you are so quick to judge. Remember from his perspective, your MBA and SUV are meaningless if you don't know how to maintain a simple machine. Much in the same way that Chinese peasants viewed university professors during the Cultural Revolution as unfit for survival when they were forced to plough fields and could not spread fertilizer evenly enough to ensure a harvest.

Just to show I harbor no hard feelings, here's a tip for the next time your service light comes on. Pull over as soon as possible. Check your engine. Make sure you have oil and coolant. If you try to drive home with out either fluid your engine will seize and need a full overhaul. If you have proper fluid levels and the gas cap is secure, the most likely source of the service light is a blown sensor, probably an oxygen sensor in the exhaust system. They need replacing every 30-60 thousand miles depending on your vehicle. For many cars, when the service light comes on the computer switches to what mechanics call limp mode. The computer controls a valve that mixes fuel and air to provide the minimum amount of combustion to drive around with. You'll feel a sluggish pickup and the pitch and timber of the engine will change. Fuel economy is grossly compromised. This mode can be switched off by either having a mechanic reset the codes or pulling the battery terminals for 20 minutes. You'll lose your radio presets but the computer resets upon reboot.

For the record I agree with you that the average driver is perfectly capable of pumping their own gas.

And to be fair, his prompt response was: "Thank you for taking the time to write. Excellent information...and well written. Best regards,"

13 Comments:

Blogger RicketyFunk said...

His description of a meth head is pretty accurate though. They're not always that easy to spot but when you've been around them enough, it's pretty easy to see and pretty darn annoying to have to deal with. (as with any addict)

I just love the law from La Crosse WI. Thou shalt not worry a Squirrel.

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