Spoke loosens on my front tire. I'm not an idiot, I tell myself, and tightening spokes isn't rocket science, so I get out a tool--I've actually got one--and try my hand at the art of taking the ribbon out of the front wheel, here a twist, there a twist.
Gets worse. I take out the tool again and try to fiddle once more. Gets worse. I'm mad. Fiddle more. Gets worse.
So finally I take it to the dealer, the guy who sold me the bike, an old friend, who knows me far too well, and I tell him I was messing with the spokes myself instead of bringing it over to him the minute I discovered the loose one. He spins at the wheel. It wobbles as if drunk.
"Schaap," he says, "you teach English--is there a hyphen in dumb-ass?"
Ask me anything you'd like about Massachusetts Bay Colony, circa 1640, and I'm an expert; but something breaks down in the house and I'm am an idiot. Put a screwdriver in my hand and I'm closer to a murderer than a mechanic.
Last night when we came home we had water in places it's not supposed to be, and on three floors. Lots. Not a sea, but lots. And it's already 9:00 at night.
Credit me this, I'm smart enough to turn off the water to the offending toilet. But we got a mess.
"We got to call Bill," my wife says, another old friend. She's right. I'd thought of it before, but I hadn't said it. I'm male, after all, like Red Green.
But she's right, and I figure I don't need another spelling lesson. So we did. Bill comes over with his tool box. Honest-to-goodness, he comes. It's dark already, and he comes over, tools in hand. Bill teaches English too, but he's no idiot.
Anyway, I'm thinking that this morning's thanks ought to include friends like mine, friends of the truly needy, friends who teach you how to spell and who to call when you can't.