My computer does this trick where the monitor goes dead. You can hear everything still running, like if you press the volume button up or down, you’ll hear various intonations of that beep it makes to tell you just how loud it’s going to be. But when I brought it to get fixed, the computer people taught me this trick, you just have to hold down the power button and reset the machine, right, you do this like eight or nine times, and then you hold down these four random buttons, and boom, the screen comes back on. Only, it takes like half a day to boot up again, and when it does, everything’s erased.
My car does this trick where when you turn the steering wheel too far to the left, there’s this clicking sound – click! – and then it’s stuck, like you can’t turn it right again. The first time I found out about this trick, I was trying to pull off this illegal U-turn, it was one of those three-lane city streets, just a busy as a highway, but it’s not officially a highway, and so there are all these cross streets and opportunities to turn around, but you can’t because there are all of these, “No U-turn” signs. Through trial and error, I figured out that if you gun the gas, and then after the car spins around like five or six times, you pop the emergency brake, and the steering wheel unclicks again. But the check engine light goes on. I have no idea.
My air conditioner does this trick where when you try to change the filter at the beginning of the year, the old filter crumbles when you touch it, turning into a cloud of black dust. And the more you aggravate it, the worse it gets, dark little fibers getting everywhere, floating up into the air. And even after you get everything to where you think it’s clean, to where it should run relatively problem free, you turn it on and it just spews out this dark haze for like two days straight, and you’re sneezing and you wake up with this terrible taste in your mouth.
My bicycle pump does this trick where, after you’re done adding air to the tires, when you try to disengage the pump from the tube, it won’t let go, it rips the top of the tube right off, giving you an instant flat. The first time it happened I was like, well, I must have pulled it off too quickly. The second time I tried it slowly, and the third time, really, really slowly. But here I am, four tubes later, my bike pump is still up to its old tricks.
My blender does this trick where you put everything into the pitcher, your yogurt, fresh fruit, ice, everything, but instead of making a delicious smoothie, it just kind of spins everything around and around. You check it out to see if maybe the blades are accidentally rotating with the blender, but after you pour everything into a bowl, splashing all over the kitchen, you feel around and you don’t even know what you’re feeling around for. How are these things supposed to work? I mean, aside from just pushing the button, you have no idea. So you kind of just play around with everything and pour all of that smoothie stuff back in and you press blend again and, again, nothing, and you just hold it and hold it until the machine is obviously overheating, you’ve got this burnt electric smell in the kitchen, and then your wife comes downstairs later and she’s like, what the hell Rob? And you’re like, well, how do I get rid of this, it’s liquidy but really chunky and not blended, should I throw it in the garbage? Down the drain?
My bowling ball does this trick where you bowl it down the lane, and it disappears. You ask the bowling alley worker, can you go check in the back? I think the machine ate my ball. And he gets on some phone and makes a grocery-store style announcement for some bowling alley technician to go check out a problem on lane eleven. And you wait like twenty-five minutes, and then you finally ask the bowling alley guy, hey man, I hate to bug you, but do you think you could see what’s going on with my ball? With lane eleven? And he just picks up that phone again and he’s like, Derrick! Lane eleven! Jesus! And everybody hears it. And then ten minutes after that, Derrick shows up and he’s like, nope, nothing. And you’re like, are you sure? It had my name inscribed on it, Rob G. I just bought it. Can I check? And he’s like, sorry man, only authorized personnel behind the lanes.