You got a flat, you got to fix it yourself

You got a flat tire, you got to fix it, you got to do it yourself. You got to pull over, you need to look in the trunk, you know, assuming it’s a standard car, by which I mean, there should be a false bottom, like pull at the bottom of the trunk, OK, that’s usually not the real bottom, there’s another bottom, underneath, that’s where the spare is going to be. It’s usually just a donut, like a smaller tire. Don’t worry, it fits.

flat tire

When I was in high school, I ran on a flat tire for like a whole day. The car still drove, I just couldn’t figure out why it insisted on drifting to the left. I figured it was a steering problem, like maybe I needed to get a new steering wheel or something. And I know you think that sounds ridiculous, a steering wheel problem, but it could have been true, because in high school I wanted a cool car so badly, and I didn’t know any better, I thought this meant like buying a pair of fuzzy dice for the mirror.

I bought this Knight Rider style steering wheel, it was like a video game steering wheel, it only had grips on the sides. I bought this thing on eBay, and I had no idea how to install stuff, so I asked my friend Nick, his cousin worked at a Best Buy garage, he assured me he knew how to install it. And I was a little skeptical, because I had previously used Nick’s services to install a CD player in the dash. It didn’t really fit right, like there was a huge gap in between the hardware and the car fixture, CDs would always get lost in that hole, but what could I do, he handed me the keys and he was like, “All right, she’s good to go. Two hundred bucks.”

And while I didn’t want to use Nick again, I could just imagine me going to a real auto garage, I’d walk in there with my novelty steering wheel, the mechanic’s face would be like trying not to laugh, like sure, I guess I should take this kid’s money. But are his parent’s going to get pissed off at me? Is this wheel even legal? At least Nick was somewhat closer to my age, and his car was totally tricked out, neon lights underneath, fuzzy dice hanging from his fuzzy dice.

I showed him the steering wheel and he was just like, “Sweet. I can do that. Two hundred bucks.” And he did it, it steered, although I couldn’t figure out which button was the horn, or maybe they were all supposed to activate the horn, and he just couldn’t get the connection right, I don’t know.

But when I got this flat tire, it just naturally occurred to me that it was a steering issue, that all I needed to do was to pull to the right, almost dramatically, and since there was no top to this wheel, you know, what this steering wheel added in coolness it definitely lacked in usability, I had to twist my arms uncomfortably to the other side. So pull, turn, and just a little heavier on the gas, and the car seemed to be driving fine.

Of course, it wasn’t fine, the front left tire was completely flat. But I didn’t know that’s why people were honking at me. I don’t know, and I couldn’t honk back, because, like I said before, no working horn, but eventually this one guy got my attention, he mouthed it out for me, “Flat! Tire!” and I pulled over.

I’d never changed a tire before, so there was a lot of trial and error, like you know that trick where you take off the screws before you jack it up? Yeah, I had no idea, the wheel just kept spinning as I tried to loosen the lug nuts. And that jack, I didn’t know there was like a certain spot. Whatever, this is all pretty basic stuff.

I got the donut on, I rode that thing way past its hundred mile suggested use. Finally my parents got on my case, “Get a real tire, now!” but I didn’t feel like digging into the comic book fund, so I went to some junkyard and bought an old one for like twenty-five bucks. Nick told me he knew how to do tires, but the two hundred dollar price tag was the opposite of what I was trying to do here, not spend any money.

So sometimes you just got to get dirty, you got to change your own tires, figure out yourself how those things get weighed. I’ve done it, I’ve been there man.

What? You have a Jeep? I don’t know, isn’t it on the outside of the back door. Yeah, the tire shaped covering with the “These Colors Don’t Run” graphic, yeah, that’s the spare. You have Triple A? You do? So what are you calling me for? You really want to hear stupid stories about my car from high school? Just call them up, that’s what you’re paying them for, I mean, you could do it, but they’re pros, they’ll have that thing changed in like two or three minutes.

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