Saturday, May 7, 2016
When I was a boy my mom thought I needed some tools. Maybe it was because the dirt bike that she had bought me for $400 from a newspaper classifieds add was only serviced once a year. It was serviced by a shop called Z’s Motorsports and only brought to them in a horse trailer with my other dilapidated old motorcycles that neighbors had donated to me, the hopeless motorcycle want-a-be. I never did get any of those bikes to even so much as burp a flame induced spark and neither did Z’s. They were old junk but, the Prized $400 CR80 would run after they did their carb clean or top end replacement. For, I had yet to learn of such things as cleaning and oiling an air filter. I just rode when I could. Sometimes I could not get it started. Sometimes, many times, It ran out of gas and I would push it home though farm fields. There it would sit until the next time gas, oil, and the stars aligned for me to try again. Once I rode until it would not go. The sprocket teeth were all worn smooth. Every time the shop fixed my bike they must have thought what a complete oblivious spoiled kid I was. But nobody had taught me how to maintain something other than airing up my bmx tires. My mom would pay the repair bill and I rode until the air filter would again suck dirt and seize the engine. Maybe it was after one of these repair bills that Mom thought I needed some tools. Since we were in town, we could have gone to the department store or the farm supply store for some nice complete tool set with sharp screw drivers and metric wrenches to fit my Honda. But no, we went to a store that was a place that interested me: The pawn shop. I remember all the pneumatic ½” impact guns, the cross bows, and Nintendo games. We decided on a near complete set of ½” sockets; 3/8” all the way to 1 ¼”. A breaker bar, extension, and even a universal swivel. Why my mom thought I needed this I had no idea. But I liked the hard metal case and the idea of something I was to be responsible for. I didn’t know what to use these sockets for on my CR80 but I somehow did learn the process of keeping a clean and oiled air filter. I can remember using the ½” ratchet to hammer my jet needle straight after fucking it all up trying to cram it into the carburetor. That socket set was the beginning of a life long quest for tools. I now have more tools for working on motorbikes than I would trade for a complete furnished casa in Bali with gold capped banisters. Somehow, from that insignificant little case my mom bought me, I have evolved a life long craft of riding, wrenching, and loving the bikes I craft with my wrenches. Thank you Mom. I am forever grateful for your patience, your foresight, and, your unconditional love and understanding.