Jeff the Mechanic

My personal answer to Joe the Plumber. 

I have had the week from hell, so this morning when the 13-year old car began overheating on the way back from a work-related errand it was the last straw.  I was ready to pull over, jump out of the car, and run down the street screaming gibberish.  Except it was pouring down rain. 

So instead I limped to a destination which shall remain nameless, where Jeff the Mechanic plies his trade. 

He and I have met a couple of times before under similar emergency circumstances.  Today was a repeat of one of those previous occasions:  another freeze plug had rusted out.  My brother-in-law previously informed me that officially these things are called “core plugs”.  Whatever.  Here in 13-year-old car world, we call stuff whatever our mechanic calls them.  We don’t have the luxury of being elitists. 

So while we were waiting for the parts store to deliver the correctly sized plug thingie, Jeff struck up a conversation, which began with:

“Your car is a disaster waiting to happen.” (I kind of already figured that out, Jeff, based on the first time I was here and you kicked my ass for neglecting the cooling system, and the 90,000 miles it has on it.)

We talked about replacing the engine.  New or rebuilt?  Take mine out and rebuild it?  New car?  What kind?  I told him I was holding out for the GM Volt…the electric car that goes 40 miles before it ever uses gasoline.  He said it will be $50,000.  I was like, never mind.  I said, OK, maybe a Prius.  He said, the best hybrid is the Camry…but it’s $40,000.  Never mind again, I said.  He said, you’re going to have to do something in between, but as long as you’re holding out, hold out for a hydrogen car. 

He then launched into a description of hydrogen cars, how they work, why we don’t have them in the U.S., what it will take to get them, using ocean waves to generate power (which he had just watched a one-hour special about on TV), the evils of pollution, and so on.  And suddenly he said, “Have you voted?”

I said, “Yes, yesterday.”

He said, “Well I hope it was for Barack Obama!” 

Jeff is white and 50-ish more or less, and male and “blue-collar” but he’s a professional and he’s a thinker, and in spite of the continuing incessant rain, I felt like the sun had just come out.  Eat dirt, Joe Plumber.

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12 responses to “Jeff the Mechanic

  1. I better get that mechanic’s location….although in over 20 years and 100,000+ miles my Camry rarely needed one.

  2. Well the difference is, you have a Camry. I have a Camaro. Case closed. (Plus I suspect you’ve taken better care of your car than I have.) Yeah, you should put this guy in your Rolodex 🙂 Not only is he one of the good guys, his charges are unbelievably reasonable. This procedure took 3 hours, and the cost was…$135.

  3. Joe the plumber was a total gaffe by Obamessiah and it has cost him a whole bunch of votes. We will see how many soon. Joe the mechanic stands tall and casts a long shadow to protect those that wish to not stand at all. Except he doesn’t understand that those “behind him” will still not have enough money to help him grow his business.

    You think he makes $250K? If not Obamessiah will eventually throw him under the bus like he did Joe the Plumber.

  4. Obama’s “spread the wealth” comment was indeed a gaffe, open as it is to exploitation by the right. However, subsequent revelations about Joe have undermined his usefulness as a standard bearer. The gaffes therefore cancel one another out.
    Trying not to read too much into Jeff the Mechanic’s comments, I think he’s in favor of alternative energy policy that makes sense. He’s a hard-working guy who will probably never make $250,000 a year in his lifetime. (Me neither.) Whatever I make henceforth looks like it will be taken up by medical costs, even though I work, pay taxes, pay my mortgage, and have health insurance. I’d appreciate it if a teensy bit of your taxes went toward helping me, which is not the same as taking away your chance at a good life to help lazy, good-for-nothing me. Or would it just be OK with you if I died?
    We already have “spread the wealth”. It’s called the graduated income tax. The issue is how those funds are allocated. I do believe (in answer to one of your questions elsewhere) that education and healthcare are a right, a right we should wholeheartedly embrace as the price we pay to live in a compassionate and civilized society. I resist all efforts to go back to the Robber Baron model.

  5. I wish you good health. And it is time I back off today. We are galaxys apart in our political perspectives. (but thats ok I guess)

    I have partnered with two women for over 40 years, raised 3 kids, helping with 1 grandchild. I have given in good will and by law and duty my entire life. I do not want government telling me I need to do more. I will do what I wish within the law and have, and now 1 man comes along and says I’m gonna change that for ya man, you’re gonna give more cause I say so.

    I have worked within the welfare system and I know it well. It is totally unamerican.

    Whoops I was supposed to back off. Next post on graduated income tax and 100 trillion dollars in entitlement programs.

    Gonna fix my steak and potato now and have a little cab and put my game face on for the Rays.

  6. Every time I hear “entitlement”, I hear Social Security and Medicare. I’ve paid into those systems my whole life too. Soon, they will be all I have to depend on. I will never be rich. I will be scrabbling to survive.
    So I ask you again. Would it be more convenient for you if I just died? Or would you get over your grief as long as you personally didn’t have to have a dime of your taxes help me? As long as you and all your money went only to yourself and your own family?
    If that’s your plan, you should prepare to live in a bunker.
    The concept that having your hard-earned money distributed to “welfare queens” is a long-discredited idea. Except…in some cases, it might be true. Kind of like the welfare we are giving to Wall Street–we have to hold our noses and do it. To rescue the puppy in the jaws of the alligator, we have to rescue the alligator too.
    Really. You should be paying better attention. It isn’t the welfare queens who are failing, it’s ordinary working people. The foreclosures we see aren’t all about greedy mortgage lenders and stupid people taking out loans they didn’t understand or couldn’ t afford.

  7. FN you have had choices and opportunity all your life. Are you saying you are a victim of a flawed society? Aren’t we all in the same boat there? My family (and I) come from a sharecropping farm with no indoor plumbing and a wood burning stove.

    Have you asked your doctors what they think of socialized medicine? I have. They are scared to death that they will be working for the government and it’s not why any of them went to med school (for 10 frigging years). So now we change the system and the care providers (the brightest and best in our society) become the victims. Do you think the quality of health care will improve or decline?

    I have great health care because it was a priority in my life to get it not because I was born.

    No one helped me and my wife raises our children. Those were the rules. How will I be compensated for helping others raise their children?

    Anyone who wants to go to college in the USA can go today. Just have to work to do it. Both my wife and I took student loans to go to college and we paid them back. And we worked our asses off. Many can and have obtained degrees through military service.

    You don’t have to be rich to be happy. There is one thing in your life that you have total responsibility for. It begins each morning and concludes each evening……
    “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
    Attitude, to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company …a church …a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past …we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.
    We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude …I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you …we are in charge of our attitudes. ”
    Charles Swindell

  8. “Obama’s “spread the wealth” comment was indeed a gaffe, open as it is to exploitation by the right. However, subsequent revelations about Joe have undermined his usefulness as a standard bearer. The gaffes therefore cancel one another out.”

    Obama was asking Joe for his vote, his answer to the question reflects his political and life philosophy. It is in no way canclled out by Joes life situation or comments. He is symbolic of the American dream he is Capraesque.

    Obama on the other hand is a socialist and is lying about it.

    http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2008/10/october-surprise-1-obama-in-his-own.html

  9. And now PT, for a completely different perspective…

    > No one helped me and my wife raises our children. <

    I ‘ll contest that PT…because I doubt you are as far down the “private” road as I am.

    You received tax deductions for children, which I oppose. The tax system should not subsidize children, or any other group.

    You received mortgage interest deduction to buy a home, which I oppose. The tax system should not subsidize home ownership.

    I suspect your children went to public schools, which I oppose. I *might* very grudginly accept public school as far as high school. Only because we need someone to take our order at Burger King, which my experience indicates the schools aren’t doing very well so….

    But certainly college should be “full price.” No public colleges. Again, why should tax dollars subsidize a special group? Not everyone goes to college, but most everyone pays taxes.

    If we don’t ALL benefit from a government function, I generally oppose taxes for it. Interestingly, Social Security will benefit everyone, if they live long enough. So I support that.

    How about natural disaster assistance? Why should my taxes help folks who got wiped out by a hurricane if they had no or insufficient insurance? I shouldn’t.

    In my view, We have LONG been a socialist country. In that “government” is providing all sorts of things to defined groups that I feel it should not. So I see little point in decrying further “socialism”, especially after the financial bailout, which I also opposed.

    Now, if you oppose all those things above, and similar, I’d say you really are whatever is the opposite of “socialism.” Otherwise, I’d say you support government assistance to special groups.

    One thing that many “conservatives” seem to espouse is that if someone had an “opportunity” to do something to help themselves then the government shouldn’t help them. I question that premise, but not for the reason you may suspect.

    Why does “fault” matter? There are all sorts of folks who are in a bad situation through no fault of their own. Does that mean the government should help them and if so, why? Why does “fault” or “no fault’ make any difference?

    Seems to me that logically, you cannot get to “help” from “no fault.” That is an issue of values and values cannot be proved or disapproved.

    When I lived in the Philippines, I saw every day folks whose only “fault” was to be born into poverty. But I did not think that the government had an obligation to help them. That was just the “unfairness” of life and I couldn’t logically arrive at a reason why government should be trying to make life “fair.”
    I accept the unfairness of life.

    That is why Fakename and you will never agree. You have different values and hers are no more “legitimate” than yours. Or mine….

    Discussion will never change values. Which is why I normally don’t get into these political discussions. I think they are fairly useless for changing anyone’s mind.

    What *may* change someone’s values is life experience. Which probably explains why the biggest zealots are often the ones who experienced a values-changing conversion. Because suddenly they see how “blind” they had been and want to “make amends.”

    I have a grim view of life, don’t I?

  10. Very interesting! I have some thoughts, but too long for a comment so I’ll just have to blog…

  11. Pingback: To Have and Have Not « Fakename2’s Weblog

  12. > I have some thoughts, but too long for a comment so I’ll just have to blog…<

    Uh oh…. lol!

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