I Don’t Know Sir…I’m an Idiot

I had an “I’m an idiot” moment yesterday.  My car performs a “vacuum system diagnostic test” periodically, and according the mechanic (there’s $200 I’ll never get back) if the gas cap is not cranked down very tight, the test fails and turns on the check engine light.  It never failed to piss me off when the light came on, so after a few tests and resets, I just ignored the light on my dashboard, as is my way.

I had an appointment to get the car appraised for trade-in, so after I pulled the negative cable off the battery to reset the light, I wanted to let it sit for a few minutes to make sure I got a good purge of the bad mojo.  I didn’t want to take my hand tools back into my office, so I pushed the trunk release button on the key chain remote to put the tools in there. 

No ka-chunk.  I pushed it again…nothing.  I proceeded to have about a 10 second temper tantrum, where I swore on all that was holy I would cut this damn P.O.S. car into tiny pieces, eat the pieces, and crap in the junk-yard for a week.  Then it dawned on me; I had JUST DISCONNECTED THE BATTERY and electronic releases don’t work without any power.  *sigh*

Anyway, it reminded me of the following (long and unremarkable) personal story about being an idiot.

King of the RoadAbout 18 years ago when I was in college, I took a road-trip with my friend Bones in a large truck to pick up an industrial labeling machine.  The machine was at a factory about 5 hours away, very close to his mom’s hometown.  The plan was simple…he and I would drive the truck to his grandma’s house, spend the night, pick up the machine and drive back the next day.  

We arrived at grandma’s in time for a nice home-cooked meal, then proceeded to get very drunk with a few of his cousins at the local F.O.E.  Grandma waited up for us, took a sniff at the front door, put on her frowny grandma  face and walked away mumbling something that sounded like “… just like his father…”

About 2:30 in the morning, the doorbell rang, followed by some insistant door pounding.  Bones was on the couch closest to the door, and being one of those people who immediately fly into a rage when they are awakened unexpectedly, tore the door open while screaming “What the FU**!” 

Do you see that sign there?He sobered up in about .01 seconds staring into the oncoming beam of one of those big-ass mag-lights favored by law enforcement.  The police officer was not phased by a cursing college boy in his boxers.  After a brief pause to allow my friend to catch up to reality, he turned around and shined the flashlight at our truck across the street.  This is the conversation I heard:

Police:  Is that YOUR truck?

Bones:  Yes sir.

*shines flashlight on “NO PARKING” sign in front of truck*

Police:  You see that sign there?

Bones:  Yes sir.

*shines flashlight on “NO PARKING” sign in behind truck*

Police:  You see that sign there?

Bones:  Yes sir.

*pause 3 beats*

*shines light back at Bones*

Police:  Well then….what in THE HELL is wrong with you?

Bones:  I don’t know sir…I’m an idiot.

We moved the truck to a nearby parking lot under close supervision.  We promised to be on the road before 9:00, and to closely watch for and obey parking signs in the future. 

“I don’t know sir…I’m an idiot” became the go-to answer for just about any inquiry among my circle of friends from that point forward.     

4 Responses to I Don’t Know Sir…I’m an Idiot

  1. S. Weasel says:

    Possibly the wisest thing that can be said to a cop in those circumstances.

  2. mesablue says:

    My Durango does the check engine thing because of the gas cap, too.

    It’s a well known problem that the dealership doesn’t want to tell you about. They tried to get me to install a new charcoal canister thingy. I settled for a gas cap.

    And, where in BFE do you have to be to have cops knocking on your door in the middle of the night because of a no parking sign. I want to avoid that place.

  3. skinbad says:

    “And, where in BFE do you have to be to have cops knocking on your door in the middle of the night because of a no parking sign.”

    Kampala, Uganda.

  4. Pupster says:

    BFE RFD USA mesa, small town in Ohio where everybody knows everybody else’s business. I’m pretty sure 75% of the town knew who we were, why we were there, and what we were doing.

    I’m also pretty sure the 5 person police department knew Bones was illegally parked before we had our pie and coffee.

    Sometimes you have to make your own fun, you know? Asking a couple of college kids to move an illegally parked vehicle around dinner time is kinda fun , but pounding on a door at 2:30 AM with the mag light and rousting a couple of drunks is priceless.

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