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mark wood

by Mark Wood


Have you ever seen a bunch of guys jrinkin’homebrew around a machine with the guts hauled out of it and wrenches strewn all over the ground? Ask ‘em if they need a hand and you’ll end up holding a frosty mug of suds and an initiation into the subtle art of fixing stuff.

If done properly a simple task can be dragged out into an all afternoon chore and quite possibly lead to a late night fiasco. The machine may or may not ever work again but, like everything else in life, the main thing is to have fun. Some may see a mechanical failure as a serious setback while others see it as a time for some analytical jrinkin’. You can’t just start right in on a project, first you got to snop the top off a cold one, wrap your head around the problem and sneak up on it. Sometimes the job only takes three or four Smokey Browns, a few smacks with a hammer and it’s back in action. Sometimes it takes more Smokey Browns or no hammer at all. Who knows? That’s the beauty of it all. The solution usually requires an equal amount of thought, force and jrinks in proportion to the spontaneity, emotion and severity of the problem. At least that’s what I learned during my last attempt at fixing something. I was mowing the lawn under an azure sky of deepest summer, thoroughly enjoying the scent of fresh cut grass and all the satisfaction afforded with the violence of whirling, motorized blades. In the midst of a roaring good time my lawnmower died. I was heartbroken. It was the same machine I’ve had for a dozen years or more and it was made up out of a dozen or more lawnmowers. That afternoon a small crowd gathered around the machine and the ridiculous process of fixing something commenced with an uncommon amount of enthusiasm. While many hands make light work they also make light of a dark situation and sometimes the goal is lost in the pursuit. Eventually we stumbled on a decent solution and made the lawnmower work again by taking other lawnmowers apart and adding it to the parts scattered on the ground until one good machine emerged from the pile. This called for a fresh round of jrinks, much congratulatory backslapping and a royal commission inquiry into how we emerged victorious. It was deemed that there weren’t enough words in the english language to accurately describe the event so new ones were invented. The act of machinery devouring other machinery in order to survive was described as mechanibalism, much to the delight of all assembled and met with sage nods of approval. This was quickly conjugated to include mechanibals, who dispersed without ceremony in search of other things to fix.

Mark is also a regular columnist with The Independent (.ca) newspaper.