Tag Archives: steering wheel


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.

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.