Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Jacks Discoveries

Much knowledge in the world can be acquired with relative ease by those who have little else than a keen perception of the obvious. SG, 2007

Very true this is! For example, I’d wager you find the following things to be self-evident even though you may never have read about them before or even had thoughts of them flicker across the screen of your celebrated mind:

- A waist is a terrible thing to mind

- 99% of all Eskimos could care less about Ben&Jerry’s newest ice cream flavours.

- Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt

- Very few complain about the sound made by one hand clapping (even in church!)

- Tahitians don’t play ice hockey very often (something about grass skirts and unseasonable winter temperatures)

- Death is, generally speaking, almost always terminal.

See? This is a very short list of examples, yet clearly you get the picture. However, I do not wish to spend further time talking about these types of situations. For in contrast to these, there are times in which it takes a very shrewd mind combined with the execution of extreme measures to unlock factoids far more obscure and mysterious!

Take my wife Leonie and a recent experience she had, for example. Those who take the time to get to know her can (and do) unanimously attest to her sharp intellect, her creative talent, and her exceedingly prodigious ability to figure almost anything out. Well on this fine day, it possessed her to fill up the BUV (Big Ugly Van) with 9 teenage and young adult Hmongsters and transport them to and from San Francisco, some 350 plus miles all told. The City by the Bay boasts the largest Chinatown in the Western Hemisphere, and they are currently celebrating Chinese New Year. Yes, the Year of the Pig is upon us, and off they all went to soak up the sights and sounds of 3rd world America as well as relieve the shops & boutiques of various and sundry doodads and trinkets.

Now, the concept of a Caucasian woman taking a group of Southeast Asian young men to a distant Chinese celebration so that they can make purchases of such authentic items as Japanese Swords no doubt bears some intriguing study. But that is neither here nor there as it is not my focus at this time. (Another day, perhaps.) The REAL truth of discovery was made before they even reached the above hallowed site of celebratory revelry. The setting in question was in actuality along a lonely stretch of Interstate 5. There they were, careening down the broad and level path toward Sodom by the Sea, no doubt enthusiastically exchanging boastful lies about accomplishments unlikely attempted and experiences with maidens never met, when IT happened….

The tread on one of the tires came off. To Dodge’s credit, the 15 passenger van was not known as a “Ford Explorer.” If it were, it would likely have instantly turned sideways and rolled over 20 plus times. (and if movies are to be believed, would have blown up with such force that it would have left a crater two thirds the size of Delaware). No, the truth is that something just didn’t feel quite right, so they pulled off after a mile or so to see what it was all about. Also to Dodge’s credit, they issue a full sized spare tire in case of emergency rather than the typical bicycle or go-kart tire that most companies gleefully mount. So fortunately, it was just a matter of super Leonie getting out the tire and using her superlative supervisory skills in employing some of that young muscle to mount the spare one. It is here that the discovery was made: DODGE DON’T KNOW JACK!!!!! (or more accurately, DODGE DON’T KNOW VAN JACK! aka. DDKVJ)

Seriously! The jack Dodge provided, when fully extended, was still one foot too short to even reach the hard point let alone raise the van so the wheel could be removed. This was the next worst thing to DODGE DON’T (HAVE) NO JACK!!, but only barely (and mostly not at all). That the quest for a foot of solid material was ultimately successful and they were able to continue on their way does not diminish this oversight. I mean, what the heck would the Saudi Arabians have done?! (being surrounded by nothing but sand and all...)

A subsequent search of Dodge’s manual archives by an anonymous researcher revealed their rationale for the provided hardware:

RE: The jack being 1 foot too short to be useful:

This really is not a problem as we have provided you with the bonus of a full sized spare tire for your shiny new BUV! Just lay the spare down on the ground, place the jack on top of it, and crank it up…

Further searches were unable to reveal the implications of the spare now being held down by the weight of the van when you wished to replace a flat with it. Nor was there reference anywhere as to WHY one would wish to jack up their BUV if not to replace a tire with the spare.

So you see? Not all knowledge is obvious. If Leonie has solved this conundrum (that of why Dodge doesn’t know jack), she certainly hasn’t told me about it yet… I’ll probably have to ask. Until such time, I will have to conclude that...

1 comment:

Allan said...

Umm .. a couple of observations about the obvious:

(a) Given the list provided, you must enjoy your job at the (Federal) Department of Redundancy Department.

(b) It's probably a good thing that Dodge doesn't have any dealerships in Mali, Niger, Chad, the Sudan, or Yemen. Pity the Dodge factory certified mechanic who was rewarded with an "exotic overseas assignment" to Saudi Arabia to maintain the Embassy fleet vehicles. They gave him a WWII surplus half-track to use as a tow truck.

(c) In all probability, there is a guy on Dodge's design team by the name of Stanley whose sole function is to design jacks (was the guy behind the award winning jack installed in the '83 Omni) but he's got seniority now and frankly doesn't try very hard anymore.