Life’s Lessons Learned


Cooper at Lake Luxembourg – Taken With My New Lens


A favorite subject of mine at the university was Psychology 101, making a lasting impression in the back of my mind, brought forward to the frontal lobe whenever I ask myself the question, “Why me?”

The Cooper went in for service last month. I had the serpentine belt replaced, new windshield-wiper blades, a valve-cover gasket installed, and seals for the oil-filter housing put in, all before having the oil changed. The front tire on the right side was continually losing air, even though all four were brand-new from last summer. Turns out the valve stem was faulty. The mechanic fixed that too.

The air-conditioner was blowing hot air, so I had them check it. Luckily the system needed only a charging with refrigerant. With the excessive heat we’ve been having this summer again, that was a no-brainer to have fixed.

Seems like every time the car gets serviced, I’m hit with a bill for over a grand. The vehicle, after all, is going on fifteen years old. Why not replace it, you might be asking? The band Queen answered that for me in the following song:

Prior to any repairs performed, the dealership does a preventive-maintenance inspection, during which they write up things that should be attended to, repaired or replaced. The major work I had done recently came mostly from their recommendations at the last service.

This time around, a CV-joint replacement was on their checklist, as the boot was cracked, exposing the mechanism, which acts like a differential for a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, on a front-wheel-drive system like the Cooper has. The cost was for an additional $600.00. I told them to let that one slide for a while, and that I would get it taken care of the next time I brought it in.

This past rainy Wednesday, I sprang for a 150-600mm lens for the Nikon. The old one bit the dust. Rather than having an expensive repair made to refurbish it, I decided on buying a new one. The next day was sunny. On the way to Lake Luxembourg for trying it out, I had a vision of the Cooper’s CV joint malfunctioning.

No sooner than I remembered when that happened once before to an old Volkswagon Rabbit of mine, while coming back from Mardi Gras the first time I went in 1985, sounds of pow, bang, tink, grind, boom, bam, bing grabbed my attention. It was evident to me what had just happened.

My immediate exclamation was, “Why me?”

That’s when the term, “Self-fulfilling Prophesy,” from Psy. 101 appeared in the frontal cortex of my brain.

Nah, can’t be, I thought. How could I be responsible for the CV joint exploding, other than procrastinating about having the anomaly repaired in the first place?

The car limped at least to the lake for my testing out the new lens, which works wonderfully.  The photos of the Cooper at the top of this entry were the result of my not wanting to crawl underneath to see if anything was dangling, prompting me to drive it back home gingerly, where it sits now in the parking lot until next Thursday.

That’s when the next available appointment is reserved, at which time I’ll have my beloved vehicle towed into the Mini dealer for the repair. No way would I try to drive it there and damage things worse (worsely?).

Until then, I’m stranded and will have to rely on shoe leather. This might be a good time to get out the inflatable kayak and do some traveling along the Delaware River.

Speaking with a Twitter friend from Down Under, I told her about my tale of woe. She replied about the time the CV joint on her front-wheel-drive car went because of a cracked boot. Dirt had gotten in to cause it to break.

“That’s exactly what happened to mine,” I said, explaining about my waiting to get it replaced the next time I brought the car in for service.

“The old story: a stitch in time… when will we ever learn, eh?” Judy said in reply.

So, with that in mind, here’s a short list of things I have learned in life:

  1. Try a little tenderness now and then.
  2. They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool; quote from John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero.”
  3. No one likes a smart ass.
  4. Expect the unexpected.
  5. Everybody’s a critic.
  6. You don’t tug on Superman’s cape or pull the mask of the old Lone Ranger; quote from Jim Croce’s “Don’t Mess Around With Jim.”
  7. Never piss in the wind; not quite a quote from the above song.
  8. Don’t leave vinyl records in the sun.
  9. The tag goes always on the inside and in the back.
  10. Talk is cheap.
  11. Most advice nowadays is contained in a top-ten list. So far this makes eleven and counting.
  12. No one loves you when you’re down.
  13. No matter how good or bad you may say things are, someone will undoubtedly claim they’ve got it better or worse.
  14. Pay attention to a trusted mechanic’s recommendations for your car.
  15. A stitch in time saves nine; thanks, Judy, for reminding me about that old adage.
  16. Love is all you need; another quote from John Lennon.
  17. There’s no crying in baseball, except when the Phillies start tanking.
  18. Don’t believe everything you read or see on the Internet.
  19. A lot of life’s lessons can be learned by listening to music.
  20. Don’t tell anyone everything you know!

Thanks for stopping in, and for your continued support. If you’ve got any lessons in life to add, please be my guest in the comments’ section.


About Mike Slickster

As an early retiree with an honorary doctorate degree from the proverbial "School of Hard Knocks," this upcoming author with a lot of free time on his hands utilizes his expansive repertoire for humorous yet tragic, wildly creative writing that contains years of imaginative fantasy, pure nonsense, classic slapstick, extreme happiness and searing heartbreak; gathered by a wealth of personal experiences throughout his thrilling—sometimes mundane or unusually horrid—free-spirited, rock-'n'-roller-coaster ride around our beloved Planet Earth. Mike Slickster's illustrious quest continues, living now in Act Three of his present incarnation, quite a bit on the cutting edge of profundity and philosophical merriment as seen through his colorful characters, most notably evident in the amusing Thirty Days Across the Big Pond series, all of which can be found at
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2 Responses to Life’s Lessons Learned

  1. Jack says:

    Mike, I have 4 that’s 16 tires 4 engines and a lot of heart aches.

    • Thanks, Jack, for replying. When I was working as a service manager, part of my responsibility was maintaining a fleet of trucks. It’s enough to drive one nuts. About your four vehicles, though, at least when one breaks down, you’ve got three others to rely on. It’s just me and my Cooper.

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