Guy Stuff

     It’s a little late for this, but I put my snow tires on the other day. This is no news in Vermont; I thought I’d mention it for our readers in Southern California, and for the many women who read this column (Hi, Mom) who might appreciate the instruction.
     Guys do not need instruction. Guys would not accept instruction if it would save their life.
     Jane thinks I should pay someone to put my snows on. Jane thinks I am a mechanical idiot.
     Jane is correct.
     Mechanical objects have conspired to gang up on me and hurt me since I was a child, and the conspiracy, as the prosecutors say, is ongoing.
     For instance, washers hate me. Not the machines, the little rubber gizmos. They disappear; they crumble in my hands. They cause hoses to spray me in the face.
     For another instance: Guys with monosyllabic names such as Clint or Brad or Chunk will tell you that a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife.
     This is nonsense.
     Trust me on this.
     I’m a guy, and I have a toolbox with the standard assortment of guy tools – an electric drill and a lovely collection of drill bits, a vise grips and duct tape, which is all you really need. At the end of the world, if you do not have vise grips and duct tape you will be – how shall I say this? – I’d better not say it.
     I also have plenty of WD-40, which is not quite as essential as vise grips, the drill and the duct tape, though it’s close. During a house fire, your average guy would grab the WD-40 before he grabs, for example, the baby.
     Because it’s more useful, that’s why.
     There is a website that lists more than 2,000 uses for WD-40. It’s a cheater’s list, though. “Lubricates recoil starter on snow plow” is not all that different from “Lubricates latch mechanisms on snow plows,” now, is it?
     “Removes mascara from tile floors” is a good one though, as is “Frees stuck Lego blocks.”
     I mention this because WD-40 is one of the secrets to putting on snow tires. First, you have to get the old tires off.
     That’s not as easy as it sounds.
     After you unscrew the lug nuts, the tires don’t just come off. What you have to do is – there is no other way to say this – kick the shit out of the tire. You kick it hard enough on top and the bottom side pops out. Then you take it off. Then you spray WD-40 over the wheel drum before you put the snows on. This will make it easier to change them again when winter ends. If it ever does.
     Jane saw me kicking the shit out of the tires last year, and saying bad words while I did it. This is why Jane thinks I should pay someone to change the tires. But Jane is wrong here.
     I asked a trained professional at the Sunoco station how he would change tires if he did not have the sophisticated equipment Sunoco provides him with – heavy pipes and wrenches and so on.
     “Dave,” I said, monosyllabically, “is kicking the shit out of the tire a good way to get it off?”
     “Yeah, that’ll work,” he said.
     I rest my case.

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