Stallion Cornell: Automotive Bonehead

So remember how Mrs. Cornell said she was happy about being married to me 364 days out of the year?

Yesterday may very well have been day 365.

It began with our Suburban stalling in the garage. The battery was dead, so I needed to jumpstart the thing with our Camry. The problem is that the garage is filled with bicycles, so I thought it would be easier to roll the Suburban out of the garage than it would be to move 150 bikes. It was a simple enough thing to get the car rolling, and my plan was to jump in the driver’s side and hit the brakes when it reached the right point.

The problem was that I left the door open too long and it caught the side of the garage door on the way out, wedging the Suburban up against the wall. It was an unpleasant thing, but I didn’t realize the enormity of the damage until later. (That’s called foreshadowing. It’s a literary device. See, even in my hour of despair, I always write good.)

I was able to jump the car where it was and drive it forward back into the garage, and the door closed without incident, although it seemed to catch a little as it did. I unwisely decided to keep my mouth closed about the whole thing, as I didn’t want to call attention to my own boneheadedness. It turned out to be a wasted effort, anyway, because the battery died again and the whole car had to be towed to the dealership. The battery was under warranty, so Mrs. Cornell got a rental, they fixed it all up, and all was well.

It was when Mrs. Cornell went to pick up the car that the trouble really started.

“Someone has tried to break into our car,” she said. Apparently, the door was out of alignment and it was unbearable to drive the thing on the freeway, because the wind whistled past you, and you can actually see the sky through the crack in the door. The mechanic who fixed the battery had noticed the point of impact on the top of the door and assumed the thing was jarred out of whack by a botched break-in.

I’m not proud of what I did next, which was nothing. I let Mrs. Cornell tell me the story and then hung up, unsure of how to approach the problem. Surely the door would have to be fixed, but we’re driving the thing up to Washington on Thursday, so I thought we’d have to wait until our return to take care of it. That would buy me enough time to muster up the courage to tell her about my little maneuver in the garage.

It was about a half hour later that I called her back. I began the conversation by saying “Nobody tried to break into our car.” And then I clumsily related the rolling door episode. Mrs. Cornell was rightfully upset, and she told me that she’d already filed a claim with our insurance company based on the idea that the car had been vandalized. So I had to call Progressive back and tell them, no, it wasn’t a vandal; it was a bonehead. Thankfully, no one seems interested in prosecuting me for attempted insurance fraud, although Mrs. Cornell was none too pleased.

Paradoxically, she’s less upset now, because she got in a fender bender this morning in a parking lot, which demonstrates that I don’t have the monopoly on vehicular flubs. This is surely going to do very interesting things to our insurance rates, but, thankfully, I think our marriage will survive.

I’m a bonehead. Did I mention that earlier?

Mrs. Cornell Tells All
Wall-E: Avoiding the Lorax

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