Hey party people in the place to be. Since it’s a dumb fake holiday that celebrates doing dumb fake things to dumb fake people, today I’m giving you a story that’s maybe a little light on the tech, but it is sort of kind of maybe vaguely almost related to the holiday, kind of.
ALSO! I received a kindly PM from one of the moderators yesterday that there is a brand new shiny subreddit called r/TalesFromAutoRepair/ ! If more stories about coked-out sales people, psychotic customers, dishonest service writers, and violent technicians are up your alley, I imagine there will be plenty very soon. I’ll be cross-posting over there as well.
Alright, ready? STORY TIME
Prior to working at Dishonest Used Car Dealership, I had worked in the parts department for a large corporate dealership the next town over as a delivery driver, dropping orders off at small indie shops. I enjoyed the job, but the pay was criminal, and when one of my customers offered me a job with better hourly pay and commission, I took it, landing me at the sad little excuse for a used car dealership I wound up at.
Now, at my former employer, we had this one employee who I shall call The Linebacker, in part because he actually had been a linebacker on some professional football team back in his twenties. The man was immense in every dimension, and, in spite of his horrible attitude, he was terribly useful in our department, since he could quite easily pick up a house. I remember struggling to move a transmission with a hand truck one day, when The Linebacker sauntered over, nonchalantly picked it up, and plunked it on a shelf as if it weighed no more than a can of soup.
The thing about The Linebacker was that he was from Louisiana, and aside from being the single most superstitious human being ever invented, he had an accent a hundred feet thick, something like a combination of Foghorn Leghorn and Boomhauer, only considerably less articulate. It wasn’t so much a drawl as it was a creamy soup of syllables, strung rapidly together into a vague, mumbly approximation of what might charitably be called “English”.
Oh, and one other thing. He had exactly two names he would call you. If you and he were on neutral or bad terms, you were “nukkahed”. If you were cool, you were “negro”, no matter your race.
So, for example, on Fridays, when empty boxes needed to be thrown into the dumpster for recycling, he would shout something like,
He was deathly afraid of brooms, to the point where if a broom touched his shoes, he had to bang the broom on the ground three times and then spit on it. If you dared approach him with a broom, you’d get a different utterance, something along the lines of,
He also had a habit of taking two words that were connected in some way and creating from them a single new word, so when his washing machine broke at home, he informed me that he needed someone to come look at his “washeen.”
After a few months, you’d get to the point where you could understand him pretty well, a phenomenon we referred to as “learning to speak Linebacker.” We liked to play a game we called “Lost in Translation” with new recruits, where we’d sit around and do imitations of The Linebacker all day long, pretending like that’s just how you talk behind the scenes at a car dealership. They’d be very confused, and we’d just say something like, “Oh, you don’t speak Linebacker? See, you’ve gotta in the car industry. It’s our secret code so customers can’t understand what we’re saying.” Oddly enough, The Linebacker thought our imitations were hilarious, and he didn’t seem to take offense at all.
After I left said dealership and moved on to Dishonest Used Car Dealership, the old dealership went through a lengthy succession of short-lived delivery drivers before finally making The Linebacker do the job while they searched for someone who would last more than a week. So, one day, I ordered some hard-to-find parts from the old dealership and had them delivered, and who was behind the wheel of the delivery van? None other than The Linebacker. He barged into the office and thunked a basket of parts onto my desk.
The Linebacker: ”wussupmahnegro, igottasumshitfoallyallindeesaherebakset.”
Me: ”hehyonukkahed, lemmegoangettaacheckfoyodumazz!”
We had a new lackey at the dealership, who we shall call Miami Vice. He didn’t look anything like Don Johnson, nor did he carry a Bren Ten, nor drive a Corvette that someone stuck a bunch of fiberglass on to make it look vaguely like a Ferrari Daytona, but his name in real life sounded uncannily like the kind of fake made-up awesome name that TV detectives always have. We spent a fair amount of our day shouting his name and ducking behind boxes or doing barrel rolls behind the fax machine while trying to bullseye each other in the face with rubber bands. His ID said he was 21 which meant he was 16, and though he was a bright kid and a quick learner, he had zero experience in the industry, a fact which led to all kinds of hilarity at his expense.
Just as The Linebacker was leaving, Miami Vice poked his head in my office door.
MV: ”What the f**k was that all about?”
I gave him a big dumb grin.
”Oh, you don’t speak Linebacker? See, you’ve gotta in the car industry…”