Clop, Clop, Clop, Whoosh

   Many years ago I started wearing slip-on boots to work, these days it’s usually shorts and 
sneakers when the weather is right.  It was a habit to wear the boots just, well, because 
I was too lazy to tie shoes I guess.  This leads to a little story about yours truly.  This was a 
few years after I was married to my dear wife and she was running the front office 
at the time. 

   We had a call that a 300z was going to be hauled in on a wrecker.  Something about a 
fire under the hood, but not a major fire, with a slight bit of paint damage.  The owner wasn’t 
concerned with the paint, just get it running.  When the car showed up it did have just that, a 
small centralized fire on the back row of injectors.   I doubt it even had more than 2 or 3 
actual wires burnt, the rest were just scorched a bit.   I easily pulled the burnt wires apart 
and began checking into it further to see if I could tell how it all started.  An obvious clue, the 
harness was lying on the exhaust manifold.  

    Not a big deal, a simple rerouting of the harness took care of that.  By the way it looked; I 
didn’t think it was all the bad.  I thought it could start and drive into the shop.  Well, why not try it.  
I turned the key and it fired right up, ran perfectly I might add.  Then…. Whoosh… a flame shot out from under the hood.  

    I shut the car down but the flame was still there.  As quick as I could I ran for the fire extinguisher.   This whole time my wife is in the office oblivious to the whole frantic situation going on just outside her door.  She could hear me running back into the shop and then stop, then run back out of the door.  With some quick thinking she deduced that I must have ran into the shop for only one thing and one thing only… the fire extinguisher.  I wasn’t concerned with her; I wanted to put the fire out.   One quick little shot from the extinguisher and the fire was out.  No damage done, just a lot more clean to be done.  Turns out one of the injector lines had a slight tear in it and gas was leaking out of it.  I figured I better fix that while I’m at it.  That’s when the real fun started.  

    Rushing out of the office with that look of desperation on her face was my wife.  There I was standing there in full glory holding onto a fire extinguisher and the smoke still coming from under the hood.
   “What just happened,” she frantically asked, “I knew what you came in for and I figured out what you were going for.  You started the car on fire didn’t you?”  The whole time she was standing there with the portable phone in her hand. 

    “Because I’ve already have the “9” dialed and I was ready to finish the call if you didn’t get things taken care of.

     “Oh, it was nothing honey,” I answered while trying to sound calm and collective, “what do you mean you knew what I was going for?”

     “Ya big dope,” she said, arms folded and giving me that patronizing stare that only a wife can do, “Those boots you wear gave you away, why any fool could hear the clop, clop, clop of those things.  You’re not very stealthy you know.  I could tell you only ran into the shop far enough to get the closest extinguisher and run back outside.  You’re lucky I was here.”

     “How’s that?” I asked, bewildered at her sudden concern for my dilemma. 

     “Because now I can tell everyone that the “great” Gonzo tried to set a car on fire,” she said with a laugh. 

    You know, when something is funny, it’s funny, add the fact that it’s involving me and my wife has a chance to tell her story… it’s only funnier.   I’ll have to give it to my wonderful wife for this one, you’re right; it must have looked and sounded pretty funny, nothing like being on the other end of the joke around here.

     I’m never going to live this down.  One thing my wife loves to do is find something I do wrong and tell everyone she knows.  It’s like a badge of honor with her.  I’m sure a lot of husbands go through this.  So I don’t feel so alone in my situation.  The way I see it, I figure if you’re going to screw up, do it in front of your wife.  She loves the attention, and even more if it ends up where the husband looks like the fool.   Yea, you know what I mean, big tough guy screws up… classic wife material for the family reunion.  

    Ok, ok it was a little fire, no big deal.  Come on, I ain’t perfect.   I called the customer and gave them the news; surprisingly enough, there was no shock or concern from them.   Seems the same thing happened to them just prior to bringing it into the shop.  It was, as they called it, “the old beater” and just wanted to get it running again and weren’t concerned about looks.  Well, thank God for that.  

    I’ve gave up on the boot thing a long time ago.  I’m a little more comfortable in an old pair of sneakers.   I try not to do as much running these days, and of course the sneakers are not near as loud as those old boots were.  One thing for sure… the wife can’t hear me running thru the shop anymore…  Just have to be certain to keep the fire extinguishers in working order and close by… and my wife’s curiosity at bay till all the smoke clears…