So I’m working on a tech article in the shop, and I’m contemplating how I should proceed with my next move. That might not sound like any kind of a big deal, but my next move could very well result in me getting stuck in a very uncomfortable position—literally. We’re making a custom dash for a ’66 Barracuda by putting a set of aftermarket gauges in the factory bezel. We’ve been working on it for a while, and we’re now at the point of the build where we need to actually “install” the completed dash into the car. It sounds logical, and not so hard, but the problem for me is that this portion of the install requires someone actually getting under the dash in the car. By all accounts, this requires becoming a contortionist to get to where you need to be. Definitely not a position I am happy to partake. Lucky for me, this is Darrell’s car. He’s younger than I am, and since it is his car...
Yeah, I know, I’m talking about getting old again, but it bothers me that there used to be a time in my life when such a proposition didn’t cause a cold sweat, a nervous twitch, or the obligatory groan of disappointment. I mean, c’mon, I don’t remember it ever being that hard to get under the dash of an A-Body. But now things have changed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the work that bothers me, nor is it the getting under the dash that worries me. My concern is that once I do actually get under there, I might not be able to get back out without help. And let’s face it, I’m large enough that when trying to do something like fit under a dash, it’s often compared to looking like someone trying to push a marshmallow through a French fry cutter—it ain’t pretty.
By all accounts, this requires becoming a contortionist to get to where you need to be
Like many of you guys, I enjoy my alone time in the garage. I turn on the radio, grab a cold beverage and the tools that I think I’ll need, and get to it. Usually, as soon as I do get under the car, I realize I didn’t grab all of the tools I need on the first trip, so I have to come back out from under the car. “Back in the day,” it was no big deal to climb out from under the car and walk to the tool box—multiple times. Now, however, just lying down on the floor worries me, because eventually I know I’ll need to get back up—or convince myself not to take a nap while I’m there. Getting up ain’t as easy as it used to be. Go ahead and laugh, but I know I’m not alone here. I’m sure that many of you guys have been under a car, and instead of climbing out from under the car to get a needed wrench, you either A) yell for the wife to come out to the garage, B) actually wait for someone to come out to the garage, or C) if you’re like me, don’t go to the garage anymore without backup. Yep, it’s come down to this—I need a chaperone when I go to the garage.
This “chaperone” is not only there to be an on-hand wrench go-getter, this person also needs to keep me from doing something stupid that I will inevitably write about. If they’re not able to keep me out of trouble, at least they can be a part of it.
So, while getting old does have its pitfalls, I’ve learned to live with them. Actually, I have learned that there is another benefit to having a chaperone in the shop with me. For one thing, I always have someone I can blame when things don’t go quite as planned. “Hey Darrell, are you sure that’s how that goes?”