Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Goodtime Charlie

Like the itinerant tinkers of years gone by, Charlie comes to our village twice a year to service sewing machines. I call him "Goodtime" because, even though a teetotaler, he always brings a crock or two of vodka along with him as a gift for me in exchange for a couple of nights under our roof.

Now most people would think that given the astronomically high cost of travel up here, coupled with the very small population, it would make sewing machine repair an unfeasible commercial proposition. However, given that every house has at least one sewing machine, and often more, I suppose Charlie gets by alright. I've heard rumours that he "supplements" his income while on his trips up here, but I've never seen anything, and I don't pry. After all, free vodka is always appreciated.

Charlie's real talent lies in repairing old manual handcranked Singer sewing machines, popular up here for sewing up home-made tupiqs (tents) and tarpaulins which would burn out most electric machines. As well, they are useful in camps where there is no electricity.

Anyways, Charlie's role in my house, albeit only an occasional one, and in addition to bringing me vodka, is to fix the odd toy, household appliance or tool which has managed to get itself mangled since his previous visit.

And this brings me to the saga of the electric blender, a regular patient of Charlie.

"Don't tell me you've managed to fuck up the blender again", Charlie complained. "Last time I told you the motor was getting old, and you shouldn't push it too far with your fucking fancy ice drinks".

"I drink my liquor with water only, you know that", I bristled. "But if the bloody blender is on its last legs, I might as well throw it out. We hardly use it and it takes up too much counter space".

Well, the thought of disposing of a broken appliance without trying to fix it first was anathema to Charlie, and an affront to his professional dignity. "Don't be too hasty", he said. "I might be able to coax a few more months out of her anyways". Despite my urging to forget about it, he focused on the blender like Scotty trying to wheedle a few more units of thrust out of the warp drive on the Starship Enterprise despite a perilously low dilithium supply.

"Well, there's your problem", he proclaimed a few minutes later. "Two of the screws holding the motor mount have fallen out. Must be stripped". So he pulled out a few jam jars worth of nuts, bolts and washers he's managed to cannibalize from defunct sewing machines to look for a replacement, but quickly came to the conclusion that they were all too small.

"Just throw the fucking thing out", I reiterated and returned to work, thinking that was the end of the matter.

When I returned home at supper time, the blender had returned to the counter top, cleaned up a little and plugged into the wall. I gave it a whirl on a couple of settings, and it seemed to work fine. So Charlie had prevailed again. I like to offer him some token money for his repair efforts and he usually refuses, but this time he accepted my twenty, saying "that bugger kept me busy most of the afternoon".

About a week later when Charlie was long gone I discovered that a screw was missing from each of the two light switch covers in the kitchen. This puzzled me greatly, until I remembered the blender. "Damn obsessive bastard!" I thought, after putting two and two together.

I think I'll puree his balls the next time he comes through, that is, of course, unless he brings vodka.


Blogger Fuff said...

Sounds like a character!

10:19 AM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Fuff: in more ways than one.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Nunya said...

LOL! I can't believe he took them without telling you! You're very observant, most people wouldn't have caught that. I'm sure he thought they'd never be missed!

1:15 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

You think he'd give the proverbial Tinker's Damn about the belnder and press on wiht life. Well, it only cost you $20 and a couple of screws, so to speak. Let's see - $20 how much is a new blender (even in Loonies)?

5:39 PM  
Blogger Eternally Curious said...

LOL - now there's a chap I can really appreciate!! My youngest is starting to show signs of a similar ingenuity and I just love watching how his mind works!

6:41 PM  
Blogger merlinprincesse said...

My eyes are all watery from laughing! Go on Scotty! I think there's a Scotty in everyone's life!

7:00 PM  
Blogger Tea and Books, etc said...


1:37 PM  

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