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My junkyard warrior days

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 09, 2003

My viewing frequency of Iron Chef has
waned since moving to NYC, mainly because I’ve seen many, if not most, of
the shows. Plus, there’s only so many times you can watch Chen cook shark
fin. To fill the void, I’ve been watching Monster Garage and Junkyard Wars,
both of which are like Iron Chef with power tools & ratchets.

I’m especially keen on Junkyard Wars because it reminds me of working in the
garage with my dad as a kid. Fixing cars mostly, but also pretty much
anything that needed fixing. Dad’s garage worked a lot like the show; he had
a vague idea about what he wanted to accomplish, I was there to help with
the scavenging, and there was a garage full of junk with which to complete
the task. Unlike the show, we were only competing with ourselves and several
trips to the nearest hardware store for supplies were usually necessary.

I was a regular Rube Goldberg in my scavenging duties. My dad would tell me
that we needed to put this doowacky together with this other conifter, and I
would scoot off to all corners of the garage, returning with six different
widgets and a plan for utilizing them all in an intricate process to
accomplish the goal. I would own at Junkyard Wars.

My favorite story about Dad’s garage happened when I was in high school. I
mentioned to my dad that my friend Ken was having some car trouble. My dad
suggested he bring the car over and Ken showed up some days later with his
blue Ford Tempo. After listening to the engine & transmission and
peering under the hood, he decided the problem lay with the
bendix. Disappearing into the garage, he emerged a few minutes later
carrying said bendix, not something usually found in your typical garage. “I
knew I had a Ford bendix in there somewhere,” he said. A couple hours of
labor later, and damned if the weird noise and transmission problems weren’t
completely fixed. He probably even had a few bendixes leftover in that
garage somewhere for use on some future ailing Ford.