Golfing with an Attitude
Ok, I confess… I'm a golfer… I play almostevery weekend with the same bunch of guys. Why I go out each and every weekend and put myself thru the heat, rain, blusterywindy days and cold weather to hit some little white ball through 7000 yards ofmanicured landscape is beyond me. But,there's no doubt I'll work on improving my handicap, until I can't pick up aclub anymore.
Once in awhile we'll be a guy short forsome reason or another, not a problem, we'll find another weekend whackerstanding around the club house looking for a game. After the first hole or so, you'll get anidea of what kind of golfer you've been teamed up with. More than likely he's just another weekendhacker knocking the ball around like the rest of us duffers.
Sooner or later they'll ask, "What do you do for aliving?"
I think it's pretty hilarious when I tell them I'man automotive repair shop owner/mechanic/author/columnist. I guess to some people having all these separatetitles is kind of impressive; I think it's pretty cool myself, but let's notforget… I'm really only a mechanic, who just so happens to write a column. First and foremost, I'm a mechanic.
Eventually they've got to ask about a car; they'vegot some sort of problem and want to know what I think is causing it. Now, I don't mind answering their question ifthe question can be answered without any further discussion. Example: the checkengine light is on. Ok, bring it into the shop and I'll scan it… here's mycard. But, that's hardly the case; it'susually some strange bogus problem I'll take a swing at with my bestguess. Time after time, I'll get the "Ialready tried that" or "Really, you think that's what it could be?" Yes, that's what I was thinking, and yes,that's what I thought it could be. (Why do they come back with that question…of course that's what I thought it could be… do they "think" I thought it wassomething else? I would have said, "Ithink it's something else…")
Then theyhave to drag their "ringer" into the game… the old "my regular mechanic said…"Ok,… time to move onto the next hole. I hear it's a par 5… a tough one. Enough car talk for the day.
I'm playing golf right at the moment; let's leavethe shop at the shop. I'm not scanningan EVAP system for a P0455 code. I'm trying to focus on the wind direction andthe elevation to make this 150 yard shot with my 8 iron. I'm not trying to tellif the gas cap is tight. I mean, I could talk car repair and play golf at thesame time, but honestly… I don't keep a wrench and a scanner in my golf bag,nor do I keep a 2 iron in my tool box. Iget into enough hazards on the golf course, so let's make this putt and move onto the next T box. Drop the car stufffor just a little while. As matter offact why not hold your thought until a more appropriate time… like over a beerat the club house, while we're adding up the Nassau's for the day.
When I'm asked automotive technical questions Idon't know how in-depth my answer should be. Most people outside of theautomotive industry don't seem to be interested in discussing the differencebetween direct fuel injection and multi-port injection. I could… really I could, but then I guessit's only boring if you bore people with it. I think it's fascinating what the human mind can come up with, and howwe as technicians take these ideas and put them into practice.
Car repaircan be on many levels, and it's what level you're on that makes adifference. It's like a handicap ingolf. If you know what the other guy'shandicap is you can still play the game. It doesn't matter if they're not as good, we both play the same gamejust on different levels… it's the same when talking about car repair.
Maybe that's why I like golf. It's a simple game… swing, hit a ball, and moveit from one spot on earth to another. Like car repair, you bring the car into the shop;you observe the problem, get the proper tools and "swing" away. Now,how much simpler can it get? Hmmm, youknow, neither is actually that simple. They both take years of practice to get good. Some people think golf is easy, 'til they tryit. It's not that easy… to me, car repair, good diagnostics skills, and goodcommunication skills with the customer are pretty much on an even par with agood golf swing. You're not going to learn it over night.
After playing all these years I still getfrustrated at the game. I have those days I just can't seem to find my swing.It reminds me of how I get at the shop on some occasion. When I'm working on a job, and no matter whatI seem to try, I just can't put my finger on the cause of the problem. I work at it and work at it. Sometimes I have to take a few practiceswings, maybe step away for a second, whatever works to get my head back in thegame. Not so much different than my golfgame actually. On some occasions myswing is off, so I need to take a break from it or try something new.Eventually I'll find the problem, sometimes after I make the turn it comes tome. Pretty much like at the shop… walk away for a bit, and when I come backI'll have the solution.
To keep my sanity on the golf course I try toavoid any conversations that lead into how to fix a problem with their personalcars. I always try to avoid getting my head in a hazard, while I'm in standingin the middle of the fairway.
So, to say I play golf with an attitude, yea, Iguess I do… to say I take my job and my career as an automotive tech seriousenough to have an attitude about it… yea, you're right again. In the meantime let me get back to my golfgame, the cars can wait … I've gotta sink this putt for eagle.
I hope everyone enjoys my weekly column here at ASO, I try to keep the subjects light and with some flair. Not all my articles go to print, but enough of them do. If you see one of my articles out there... let me know which magazine it's in. Always like to keep up with it. Gonzo