Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

Dashboard Confessional, The Sequel

March 29, 2013

A while back, I confessed I don’t know diddly-squat about my car. I know how to go forward and reverse. I know that I have to put gas in before the dial goes to E. And, finally, I know to change the oil when the date on the sticker expires.

The two scariest words in my vocabulary are “Check Engine.” I hyperventilate when that light comes on. Here’s how I check the engine. I open the hood and notice that the engine is still there. I have officially checked the engine. The next item on the check list is, “Call mechanic.”

I look at the car manual twice a year, once to Fall Back and the other to Spring Ahead. Every six months I forget how to change the clock. You think I would have figured it out by now.

The check engine light usually means one thing to me. Money. Lots of money. Piles and piles of money.

Car repairs are rarely cheap. Every time I get out of the dealership, Pep Boys, or wherever for under a hundred dollars, I am ecstatic. Mechanics, like grocery stores, should offer a rewards card. I find myself sitting in a chair at the dealership watching “The View” way more than I would ever agree to it, which would be no more than once every 10,000 years. I need a rewards card, clubs or coupons.

That’s probably why I love Triple A.

They run it like a grocery store with clubs and coupons. I also love Triple A because, while I am a male in my 40s, I don’t change flat tires. They have people to do that. I would hate to take away someone else’s job by changing my own flat. That, and I don’t like to get dirty. I might be wearing jeans I’ve had since the late ’90s, it doesn’t mean I have to look like it.

Always make sure there are three A’s on the door of the building. Two A’s will only try to take away your cocktail. Two A’s doesn’t have clubs, cards or coupons, just cigarettes, coffee and donuts.

The other day, I had a new light come on. It said, “Oil Life 90%.” I didn’t know my oil was alive. If oil is alive, I think we have a new reason to stop fracking. I am picturing a row of yellow Valvoline bottles crying in the Advance Auto. Clearly, I have a sick mind, one with no mechanical aptitude.

I had to go to the dealership to find out that I hit a button by mistake. I somehow hit a button on my dashboard that tells me my oil life instead of my mileage. It turns out 90 percent was a good thing. I didn’t know. What if it were out of a possible 1,000? I had to make sure.

While it’s embarrassing to have a mechanic tell you, “You hit a button by mistake,” it was a lot cheaper than actually paying for a car repair. So, I’m putting this in my win column.



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