Shocking but true

My husband possesses many talents and skills, but he cannot fix a car, do household repairs or build anything.

He makes up for this deficiency by his amazing ability to persuade other people to do things for him. Thus, a man stopped by today to diagnose the problem with our kitchen faucet and sprayer. (Diagnosis: Need all new components.) And he has a guy scheduled to come and figure out why my computer keeps disconnecting from the Internet. He rounded up some man willing to climb onto our roof and clean the gutters and replace some missing shingles.

So, you understand my husband, right? He’s a great guy, but he is not mechanically inclined.
* * *

Saturday morning, he discovered that our 1995 Chevy cargo van would not start. We were a little puzzled, but thought maybe a child left an interior light on. No problem. He got someone to jump start it and then drove it around awhile and all seemed well.

Saturday night, he drove it to a friend’s house. When it was time to drive home, the van would not start. He’d turn the key and it would simply click. Our friend mentioned this to his friend and that friend came over fiddle with the dead van. He explained that sometimes when a starter is going out, all you need to do is tap it with a hammer and sometimes it will catch and then start.

My husband rolled his eyes when the guy instructed him to click the key in the ignition while the guy crawled under the car with a hammer. Tap, tap, tap, tap and the engine roared to life to my husband’s great shock.

He drove the van home and parked it backwards in the driveway so a tow-truck could more easily tow it to a repair shop. Now we knew for sure that it needed a new starter.

At noon today, he came home to deal with the broken van. He thought maybe it would start, but no. Just click, click, click. We would have called AAA to arrange a tow, but neither of us could quickly find our cards. He said let me try tapping it with a hammer.

I rolled my eyes. “Do you even know what a starter looks like?” I do not. I’m pretty sure he does not. But I retrieved a hammer, handed it to him and climbed into the driver’s seat. My husband crawled under the van, hammer clutched in his uncalloused hand and told me to turn the key.

At three second intervals, I clicked the ignition. Click, click, click. I heard bang, bang, bang, tap, tap, tap, clang, clang, clang under the van. At this point, I am cracking up, laughing at how silly this is, how impossible this is. Click, bang, bang, bang, click, tap, tap, tap–wait a minute, he says, let me listen. I hear him move over some, then, okay, go. And I resume clicking while he resumes banging away at the innards of the van with his hammer.

Click, click, click and then, to my shock, the van roars to life. I burst into laughter and climbed out. My husband appeared, Douglas fir needles clinging to his hair, hands covered in black grease.

And that’s the story of how my husband forced our dead van to start with nothing but a hammer and pure optimism. He totally rocks.

7 thoughts on “Shocking but true

  1. There’s a parable about Charles Steinmetz doing something like this at a G.E. power plant in 1915, and he charged them $4000 just for knowing where to smack the thing with the hammer.

    Kudos to hubby for knowing how to get the job done, which is what counts in the end.


  2. Now, that is a brave man!

    My hubby is the polar opposite of yours in this respect. You’re thinking “That’s so great!” Um, yeah, but he’s the guy who other people beg to come over and fix stuff. 🙂 Being able to do plumbing, auto repair, electrical, and all types of construction makes him marketable though, so he’s keeping our heads just above water by doing side work. This is a good thing.


  3. Our husbands are very similiar with their mechanical abilities. Usually I am the one on the phone w/ my Dad instructing Rob to do crazy things to the engine. My favorite (we have since sold the car): I had my rubber gloves on, my pampered chef large measuring cup filled w/ hot water and dawn soap, and a sponge of course. I was scrubbing the battery. My neighbor walks by and says what on earth are you doing? Much to both his and my husbands dismay the car started :).


  4. the biggest shock of my married life was that my new husband could not build me a bookshelf…i was born to a family of basically master carpenters and when i asked for a bookshelf, i expected one that would stand up…upon completion it promtply shifted sideways and fell apart..i laughed my head off at him…it did not bode well..he had many qualities, carpentry was NOT one…though i do remember him banging on a starter once or twice..hehe..seriously enjoyed the read…


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