I watched my cousin Toby change a tire on his car and I remembered that I am not a man. I don't think I'd ever seen a star wrench before, and the extent of my knowledge of brake pads comes mostly from Tommy Boy.
"Here, take this and check the tire pressure on that wheel over there," my uncle Marty said as he handed me the nozzle of an air compressor.
"Okay LOL," I replied with the grandest of false confidences, and I walked the plank over to the right front tire. What the hell does this thing do? This looks unscrewable. *Unscrews.* I bet I can jam this in here. *Giggles.* Uh... Shit. Okay, this looks like it's working. Actually, I have no idea if this is working. Keep looking diligent. No, don't look up, he'll see the green fear in your eyes. What do I do? Maybe I can stay here forever and have Copper bring me dead rabbits every day to eat. I don't think it would be that bad. I don't think rabbit meat is that tough. It certainly beats looking foolish at car stuff. Oh sweet God thank you, Marty's leaving the garage to get something. "Toby..."
This past Friday I cashed in my extra meal points for this week's cereal at the local campus market. My shopping rendezvous complete, I carried home a plastic shopping bag full of light-to-semi-heavy items. My friend Garrett remembered a time recently when I ran into him, arms full of shopping bags, breaking both bags wide open.
"I bet you won't hit me with that bag," he said with a distinctly Conor-esque inflection.
Yesterday, I was on my way to play raquetball with my friends. I bounced my bouncy rubber ball on the pavement as I walked. A good distance away, maybe 200 feet, a parking garage was looming. You know how parking garages work when looking at it from the side: a roof, a section of brick, the next level, a section of brick, the next level. Giant gap, bricks, gap, bricks, gap.
"Hey guys," I said with the grandest of false confidences. "I bet I can hit this ball off the middle section of brick from here."
"No you can't, Robert, that's stupid."
It took about five minutes to find the ball, which doesn't seem like a lot, but five minutes of walking is a long way to catch up with your friends. I was tired and defeated by gravity unaccounted for. Yet, it was sort of nice to feel as brainlessly immature as I do in my hometown of Springfield, even if I did lose these particular battles. An armful of milk cartons and a two-minute run is a small price to pay for that pleasant little sadness you get when the wheel turns and home comes back to you.
And then that begs the question: do I even want to know how to change a tire?