I am turning 65 soon. If I were a car I’d be in a museum. Or the junkyard. I’ve never been one to care much about the vehicles that carry me around in this world. I don’t think I’ve washed my car in over 10 years.

I’ve done much better with the one some would call my body. It gets a somewhat regular washing, but my wife still has to remind me.

To be fair, I have never cared much about the body I drive around in. I know others do. I see them applying paint, making sure their headlights shine, torturing over every curve of their body, and getting their tires rotated regularly after a night of being tanked up on alcohol.

Meh. I’ve never tortured over this body of mine. After all, I didn’t have any say over its features. No say on color, grain, driveline, or power package. I got a stick because no one asked if I wanted an automatic. My parents chose all these options for me the night they decided get a little horny after too many cocktails. Some egg winks as she passes by, I win a swimming competition and viola! – the order has been placed.

Sixty-five years later, that champion swimmer has a body that makes some funny noises under the hood. Time has taken its toll on some of the original manufacturer parts, but it still manages to get me around without giving me too much trouble.

I know this because I took it to the shop recently. The professional I take it to gave it a thorough once over. Sure, there was some additional mileage, and the spare tire around my waist had gained a few more psi, but overall nothing too much out of the ordinary.

Well, there seems to be a small problem with the rear end. I’ve been told that I might have a leaky gasket. So the person I take it to wants to do a closer inspection.

It’s always been a finicky rear end. For instance, it likes to omit really foul smells from the tailpipe at inopportune times.

But now it seems I need a rear-end job. This is a bit of a concern, in part because I’d had so little work done on this thing over the years. Sure, I had the dipstick cover taken off when I was born. A few years ago I had a couple nuts that needed attention, but nothing really major.

I’ve been fortunate in that regard. I’ve never had to have stitches to reconnect my ample upholstery. I did rip it wide open one time with an X-acto knife, but the guy at the shop put some tape on it and called it good.

Small wonder that to this day that I think tape will fix just about anything. Duct tape is by far the best, along with some Super Glue. A little here, a little there. All good.

Miracles of miracles, I’ve never had anything really break. I’ve done some pretty stupid things while moving about the cabin. I did hurt my ankle skydiving. But it wasn’t a break. My guy said I should have broken it; it would have been better if I did. So close, but yet so far. I didn’t get a cast. Just more tape.

Before you call my bluff, I will admit that I have broken my little toes so many times that I can’t even count them on two feet. I had my nose broken by an errant softball in elementary school, but no one did anything about it. To this day I look like an enthusiastic window shopper.

I did manage to break my ring finger in middle school. That was Harley Spaeth’s fault, not mine. He threw a volley-soccer ball – you know, those do-everything-but-not-well balls schools have. It knocked the end of the finger back into the knuckle. That split the bone in two. When I was taken to the shop, the guy snapped it all into place without much ado or warning and slapped a metal splint on it with you guessed it – more tape.

As I said, I have nearly all of my original parts. A few pieces of my grill have had some work done to them, and then there was the cap on the dipstick. The pesky nuts were disconnected by the Celtic Dick Snipper. The nuts are still there but they really have no use anymore.

As I look forward(?) to my rear-end job, I marvel at how lucky I am. I have only stayed in the shop for a week in my entire life. It was all my fault. I had never such headlights before. I have seen a lot since. How was I to know that they weren’t the best, brightest or biggest in the land? I did have those computer resets a time or two over the last couple of years; for some reason my body likes to do that. No one at the shop can tell me why the odometer rolls back an hour or more and then works starts clicking along again.

And I had that pool noodle that was shoved down my radiator hose that one time after it was blocked by an unchewed piece of grisly steak. I tried to do a flush myself with red wine but it really required the touch of a real pro armed with Armorall. Wait, that was Demerol.

I am pretty sure that I won’t enjoy the rear-end work as much as I enjoyed the “go ahead, rip it all out” feeling of the pool noodle drugs. I am told that I won’t be awake, but rather twilighted. I’m not sure what that exactly means and Kat isn’t very forthcoming with details. I did plan to bring my own borescope with me to the appointment. If I can save a dime or two while I’m in the shop, I’m on it.

But they say they have their own diagnostics at the shop. But as a thank you for being so thoughtful, they said they’ll send me a free drink to enjoy the night before. I love free drinks. So thoughtful.

Somewhere north of the Emerald City, kegeling unexpectedly,

–          Robb