My wife loves it when I help people. Every time I have ever stopped to help a stranded motorist she has practically swooned. I suppose it makes me feel good to help out as well…. it’s just that after I stop to help, I am practically worthless. I know very little about how to fix a car that isn’t working. I’m one of those guys who pops the hood–knowing full well that it would be a complete miracle if I actually figured out what’s wrong–and then I’ll just stare…. maybe muttering words like “manifold” or “intake” or “ball bearings” or “calipers.” But even though my wife knows that I am relatively clueless when it comes to fixing cars, she still loves to watch me try to be helpful. One time when I helped a stranger push his car into a gas station, you’d have thought she was watching Justin Timberlake dance. In the rain. With his shirt off.
So the other day while we were eating outside, when I saw a group of ladies standing around a car trying to get the trunk to close, I figured I would walk over and give them a hand. Admittedly, I’m not great under the hood…. But the TRUNK??? I sauntered over with an air of “I’ve got this ladies. Help has arrived. I was just on my way to the weight room, but I’ve got a moment.” Actually, it looked more like me intentionally clearing my throat so they would see me coming and not get freaked out by the creepy, bearded guy who was suddenly standing in their half circle looking into their trunk. They were like, “Sure, give it a try.” I tried all my tricks. I tried brute force, I tried pushing on the latch with my key, I even tried giving it The Fonz (where you hit it with your fist to get it to work a la Happy Days)–Nothing worked. Although, when I tried “The Fonz,” the radio did start playing “I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill.” Within a few minutes, I was muttering something about calipers.
Dejected, and a more than a bit humbled, I walked back over to Lillian to break the news to her that her Knight in Shining Armor was actually not victorious this time. Her Arthur Fonzarelli came off looking like a Potsie Weber…. And then she goes, “Did you check to make sure that the emergency trunk release wasn’t pulled?” Umm…. No. I walked back over, and of course that’s exactly what it was. They were all “My hero!! We can’t thank you enough. You totally saved the day!!! What’s your name again?” Potsie Weber, Ma’am. Nice to meet you. I explained that it was actually my wife who figured it out. When she walked out of the restaurant (after taking the kids to the bathroom), I pointed toward her, and all of us–four middle-aged women with a trunkful of wine, as well as the creepy, bearded “caliper” guy–cheered wildly for our hero.
Now, I don’t want to get too deep about things–Sometimes a story is just a story–but driving away, I was reminded again how important every single person is in this world. Whether it’s a community, a business, a Church–We would be so screwed if all we had to rely on were the biggest, the strongest, and the loudest people to provide the solutions we desperately need. Many times the best answers are given by the people who are in the least hurry to give them. And many times we look to the jack ass who knows the word manifold for answers, when we should be looking to the woman who’s trying to make sure the kids washed their hands after they went potty. But who am I kidding…. She doesn’t have time to solve your problems.
Thank God for my wife.
FYI….As a post script and a disclaimer, most of the funniest things in this post my wife came up with. She also kept me from making a fool out of myself by writing “brut force” instead of “brute force.” Spell check’s not going to catch that one….