Slim Randles' Home Country
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Whenever my lack
of mechanical prowess threatens to surface, I sure miss the
solenoid. It was always there for us, lurking under the hood
somewhere, and always — always — it was waiting to malfunction. It
was handy, every mechanic knew where it was — like tonsils — and it
had a great name. Solenoid — like asteroid or paranoid.
In the old days, B.C.C. (before car computers), the solenoid was a
little whatchit that was in the engine area, and without it you
couldn't make the car go. And that's an important thing for those of
us who are mechanically impaired to know.
I asked Vince down at
the gas station gun shop about solenoids and why we don't hear about
"Oh, they're still in there," he said, "but now they're a part of
the starter and everything is run by a computer, so you don't see
Vince began selling guns at the gas station several years ago so
he could combine his two great loves: gasoline and gunpowder. The
place has never been held up.
So the solenoid is still around, reducing current from the
battery and closing little doodiddles inside the thingie-things, but
it isn't separate any more.
[to top of second
This is a terrible blow to guys like me. The solenoid, bless it,
saw a long career as the whipping boy of ignorance. In those days,
if the car didn't start, you'd raise the hood, start tapping on
various parts with a screwdriver, and wait for someone to come by
and take pity on you.
"Not starting?" the mechanically inclined angel of mercy would
And then we would look semi-philosophical and reply, "Can't get
it going. Think it might be the solenoid."
This gave us a graceful way out of just looking stupid. What are
we supposed to say these days? My car's gone off-line?
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The only thing more annoying than a baby's
cry is not being able to hear it. Free hearing test. Beltone.