If You Can’t Fix it, Don’t Ride it
If you can't fix it...
When my sister and I were growing up, our dad had a saying: if you can’t fix it, don’t ride it. He meant our big wheels, scooters, bicycles and so on. If you did not know how to change a tire and the oil at least, you were not allowed to drive a car, especially not one that belonged to him. It’s not like he just shoved a wrench and a manual in our hands; he showed us the steps and walked us through procedures a time or two. We got it into our heads that we could fix stuff. One day, my sister and I got the notion that taking apart the lawn mower would be a good idea. Hours later, we stared at the remaining parts we could not find places for and prayed for a miracle. Somehow the mower started the next time the old man went out to cut the grass, but it never ran quite right. Paranoid, we buried the parts in the backyard and vowed eternal silence. As far as I know, she has never squealed.
When I turned 18, the desire to buy a used motorcycle got into my little old head. I approached the man that we all refer to as “the Old Bear” with my news and my battered bank book in hand. I was all prepared for a battle royale to break out, convinced that the old man would battle me on the issue, that he would start with no and then drag me up and down varying levels of the word. I was ready though; the Old Bear had never raised any stupid cubs and I, his first born, was ready for him. Not only did I have the guts to stand up to my dad, I had the research and the information that he would be asking me for. I had done this rodeo a time or two, after all. My sister, as much as I love her, was always a wimp when it came to the Bear and would rather do without than have to deal with him directly.
And so, I marched up, spine stiff, lips set and started. He blinked those impossibly blue eyes a few times and stared at me. In my mind’s eye I was transported back in time to my youth- when I idolized the Bear above all men, even more than Davy Jones. I waited, vowing to stand my ground, come what may.
I was shocked when instead of a flat out no he started asking questions. It was a few minutes in when I realized that we were having a real, honest to goodness conversation. Slightly stymied, I tried to get past this amazing fact and get to the heart of the issue. If that was shocking, imagine how floored I was when the final thing the Old Bear said was “if you can’t fix it, don’t ride it.”