CAWTHON'S CATHARSIS - Herald Installs New Engine; Boys in Big Puf Want Old One

(09/03/2004)

By Jack Cawthon
Barbecuerun@aol.com

I hardly had time to straighten up, not my life, but my back which gives me fits when I drive long distances, when Burvil was at my side wanting to know about an engine. Most hill boys are interested in cars and enjoy working on them. I was reasonably able to do simple repairs myself until the new computerized models came along. Now I don’t know an injector from a dejector.

My old Dakota truck still has an engine that Henry Ford could tinker with. I made the mistake once of telling Burvil that there was an engine miss that I couldn’t track down. He had taken a course in Auto Mechanics at Tri-Holler High School, and he insisted on taking the truck overnight to check it out. Later, when I went to pick it up, I found he had pulled the engine, taken it apart, and, after considerable thought, had come to the conclusion that a new set of spark plugs would take care of the problem.

Burvil finally got through to me that he was asking about a new engine that the “She Heard” had installed. He can never get the name of the publication right, as Hur Herald, but even understanding his misunderstanding I still couldn’t figure out what he was talking about.

Finally, he explained that Arley Cleeter, who has the only computer in the community, reads some of this stuff to the regulars at the Over Easy Inn from time to time, and he had mentioned that the Herald had put in place a new “search engine.” Although this was rather meaningless information for a group of people who can’t find their hip pockets in the dark, it had struck a note, and possibly a whole cord, with Burvil.

He wanted to know what make of engine the Herald had installed, and if he might have the old one to convert for a ’75 Mercury that had just “blowed up.”

Now, how does one go about explaining a “search engine” when he hasn’t even learned to “download?” I had just read about Google going public as a stock offering, which had created much commotion. Google was described as a “search engine.” Computer geeks seem to speak an unknown language to those of us without a Rosetta disk to translate it. I could readily understand how confused a person who is computer unfriendly, and in my case computer belligerent, might assume that a search engine could have something to do with internal combustion.

Did you ever try to explain to a kid something you know absolutely nothing about just so he or she will think you know something about everything? That was my dilemma in trying to explain to Burvil the workings of a search engine.

I asked him if he had ever wanted to find out about a certain subject, but didn’t know where to look. He replied, “Yeah, girls!” Well, that is one subject one doesn’t enter into a search engine lightly, especially if an audience is nearby, say, a significant other. Understand, this is hearsay only, as I am relying on what others have told me. I asked him to choose another subject, and he replied, so help me, “the law of relativity.” When I asked why he would choose such a complicated subject, he said that he had always wanted information on some relatives who had run afoul of the law.

We weren’t doing so well. I might have tried to steer the conversation to another subject such as “how ‘bout them ‘eers,” had Okey Hanshaw not come along just then. Okey also wanted to know what the Herald planned to do with its old engine, as he had bought an Edsel in Ohio when work was good and it now needed a few repairs.

I suppose I should have just given up and told them I would check with Bob and Dianne on the disposal of their old engine and if it were salvage I would enter a bid. But Arley Cleeter showed up at that time, and as Arley is somewhat the intellectual, reading some of the books before burning them, I thought he might steer the conversation away from Detroit by way of Big Puf.

I was mistaken. The first thing Arley said was, “Hey, fellows. Remember that search engine we were talking about? Come on over and I’ll show you what happens when I type in ‘girls’.” Well, that certainly did change the subject somewhat, but still it was one I wasn’t overly familiar with. Think it would over-rev the Herald and red-line it if I entered a search?


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