JWR Roger SimonMona CharenLinda Chavez
Jacob SullumJonathan S. Tobin
Thomas SowellWilliam PfaffRobert Scheer
Don FederCal Thomas
Left, Right & Center
Jewish World Review / March 18, 1998 / 20 Adar, 5758

Roger Simon

Roger Simon Flat tire? Spare me

IN EVERY LIFE, a little tragedy should fall.

I am not talking about a major tragedy. I am not talking about a safe falling on your head and squashing you like a bug (it should only happen to Saddam Hussein).

I am talking about those little tragedies that leave you a stronger, more self-confident, better-prepared person Flat Tire when they are over.

Everyone, for instance, should get a flat tire.

And that is because surveys have shown that 92 percent of the driving public has no idea how to change a flat. And the 8 percent who do don't have spares in the trunk.

Besides, even if you do have a spare in the trunk, I can almost guarantee you that it is flat, too.

Why? Because when is the last time you checked the air pressure on your spare?

You didn't know spares had air pressure, did you? Well, yours probably doesn't because you have never checked it.

The spare came with the car, and it has sat in the trunk (if it's there at all), slowly leaking air ever since.

Which is why you should get a flat tire at least once, preferably at night. On a Sunday. This would give you self-confidence for the future.

What do you do if you get a flat? I'll get to that later. Now, let's talk about what you can do when all the electricity in your house goes out 30 minutes before you are expecting 20 guests for dinner.

This really happened to a friend of mine. I'll spare her any embarrassment by giving you her real name: Maralee.

Maralee called me up at 7:30 p.m. on a Saturday night because she knows I know how to deal with small tragedies (not big ones like getting run over by a beer truck as you cross the street, which should only happen to most of my bosses).

"Twenty people are coming over at 8 p.m.!" Maralee wailed into the phone. "I had to dial your number by lighting a match! You have to come over here!"

First things first, I said. First of all: Why wasn't I invited?

"What?" Maralee said. "Do you realize that 20 baby squabs are still in the oven! And it's an electric oven! I need help here!"

I should help you for a party I wasn't invited to? I said.

"You've been invited over plenty!" Maralee yelled. "You were invited over for my Superbowl party!"

That was Lipton's onion dip and Pringles, I said. That was not baby squab.

Maralee began to swear, which was impressive, and began to list all the things she could blackmail me with, which was even more impressive, and so I agreed to help her.

You need to find the fuse box, I told her. It's really a circuit breaker box, but you call it a fuse box.

"I am pretty sure I know where that is," she said. "But I don't think I can find it in the dark, and I have only one match left.

Don't you have a flashlight? I asked.

"Of course, I do!" she said. "I keep it by the fuse box."

So I got a flashlight and drove over to Maralee's house and popped her circuit breakers back on.

She was very grateful, and as her guests arrived, she explained to them that I was a handyman from the local homeless shelter, and that is why I was dressed that way.

"A donation for the shelter," she said loudly, handing me a $20 bill.

Her guests were very impressed.

"Give that back to me Monday, or I'll have your guts for garters," Maralee hissed into my ear as I left.

But Maralee now tells people that because of this minor tragedy, she has become a better-prepared, more self-confident person.

"I keep several flashlights all over my house," she tells people. "And I never serve baby squab anymore. I have switched to Rock Cornish hens."

Which just goes to show how she has grown as a person.

Oh, yeah. What you do about a flat tire:

Find the well-inflated spare, make sure you have a lug wrench, make sure you have a jack, make sure the car is on level ground, and then do what I do:

Call Triple A.


3/13/98: Latrell Sprewell's genius
3/10/98: On truth and reality
3/5/98: No, I'm not harrassing Hillary
3/3/98: The Unforgettable Henny Youngman
2/26/98: Grow up, boys!
2/24/98: Go get 'em, Bill!
2/19/98: My 15 minutes
2/17/98: The manic-depressive presidency
2/12/98: Drip, Drip, Drip
2/10/98: Clinton tunes out the networks
2/5/98: The flight of the Beast: America's love-hate relationship with scandal
2/3/98: Speaking Clintonese
1/29/98: What the president has going for him
1/27/98: Judgment call: how Americans view President Clinton
1/22/98: Bimbo eruptions past and present
1/20/98: Feeding the beast: Paula Jones gets the full O.J.
1/15/98: Let's get it over with: it's time to deal with Saddam, already
1/13/98: Sonny Bono is dead, let the good times roll
1/8/98: Carribbean Cheesecake: First couple has cake, eats cake
1/6/98: PO'ed: a suspected druggie jumps through the employment hoops
1/1/98: Cures for that holiday hangover
12/30/97: Buy stuff now
12/25/97: Peace to all squirrelkind
12/23/97: Home for the Holidays: Where John Hinckley, never convicted, will not be
12/18/97: Bill's B-list Bacchanalia: Press and politicos get cozy, to a point
12/16/97: All dressed up... (White House flack Mike McCurry speculates on his next career)

©1998, Creators Syndicate, Inc.