Sir Cumference and the Gift of Dad Jokes Revisited


I recently told you about how my father gifted me with the ability to make Dad jokes (see Episode One: Sir Cumference and the Gift of Dad Jokes). Well, as a part of “not inheriting any other life skills that are useful” other than dad jokes, I was also bequeathed with an inability to fix anything more complicated than a light bulb.

I went to the public schools during an awkward time when it seemed many thought it was a bad idea for people to do trades and take trade school classes. Traditional college was the way to go, so I spent my formative years learning and working behind a desk.

My dad was a working class man and knew a lot of stuff he could have taught me, if he could have made sufficient money on one job to not have to work two jobs and be too tired to teach me.

So I ended up missing out on a lot of the important masculine childhood experiences. Changing canooter valves and souping up your engine and that sort of experience was lost on me. Mostly all I was ever able to do was aim the flashlight in the wrong direction and pick up the wrong tool.


How all car engines looked to me when I was younger. Except mine was scarier.
Car Photo by Mohammad Danish on Unsplash

As I grew up, it didn’t get much better, but at least I had the dad jokes.

I remember the barely-suppressed terror I felt the first time I changed my own oil. I poured five quarts of 10W40 into what I prayed was the right hole in the engine. It didn’t matter that the cap said “oil,” or that I had watched a few friends change their oil before. I still half-expected the car to explode and my dad to shake his head after pulling me out of the smoldering husk of a vehicle as he chided me for pouring motor oil into the “power steering oil intake pump.” 

Today, I’m a lot more handy than I was in my 20s and 30s. And, being totally honest here, my 40s. Life forced upon me, mostly against my will, enough knowledge of things like starters, alternators, and air conditioning units that I can make educated guesses as to what ails my car, and those guesses are correct 50% of the time. Which may sound a lot like guessing, but it’s a darn sight better than the odds I had growing up, when I didn’t even know what rack-and-peanut steering was.

Complete with rack-and-peanut something.

Tell us about your education in the comments.  Or your car.  Or anything really. We're a lot lonelier than a young blog should be.

 If you liked this post, then check out some of D3’s other life essays:


Or if pop culture is more your thing, check these out:







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