My Best and Worst Drag Races

Drag racing has been in my blood since I was about 12 I think.  I asked my Dad one night when I was real young how a gasoline engine worked, when he came upstairs to tuck me in one night. He took the time to explain it to me about 45 minutes or so. I think that was my hook that drug me into hot rods and has never let me go to this day. I used to get 25 cents as an allowance from my parents every week. So I used to save up my allowance and splurge it on Hot Rod Magazine when it came out each month at the drug store in town. It was 35 cents a copy then. The pictures of cars were either black and white or some green toned process. The magazine at that time was heavily into drag racing, the Bonneville Salt Flats, and street rods. In many respects it was the perfect magazine. I read it faithfully for years after. I used to go to the drags when I was in high school but not as often as I wanted. I got into some street races with my friends too. Most of my cars of that day weren’t very fast because I couldn’t afford a new factory hot rod. I finally bought a 1956 Chev from my friend Greg Mitchell. This thing had a little power pack 265 V8 in it with a three speed trans. It ran pretty good for what it was.

One race I remember pretty well was against Jerry Eisle. He had this little fairlane with a 260 V8 in it. He put a four barrel carb on it. It also had a four speed transmission. Then he came up to me in the hall one day and in a most smartass way challenged me to a drag race. My good friend Terry Lunsford heard the conversation and told me, “race him! You can beat him!” So I told him I would. A couple of days later Jerry and I met out on what is now 205. It used to be part of 82nd avenue. Nice long two lane one way stretch of highway with lots of shut down area. Terry was with me too. So I had some extra weight that Jerry didn’t have. Well the thing about cars is, even if the motors are fairly well matched in power, and all other things fairly equal the one with the lower gears will win. Just a mechanical advantage thing to the motor. My car had a three speed trans which was lower geared in low gear than Jerry’s four speed trans. So when it came down to the race we “hit it” and my 56 just jumped his Fairlane by almost a car length right from the start. Terry had been showing me how to really bang the gears, something that three speed Chev trans just didn’t like, and so I beat Jerry pretty bad on that race. He wasn’t satisfied so I wound up racing him at least 3 times maybe four. I beat him just as bad every time too. I never heard any more from Jerry Eisle about my 56 Chev.

When I got out of the service and several years later I got a 55 Chev business coupe from Ron Cameron, who in Ron’s finest form, just had an extra 55 lying around he wanted to sell. I bought it from him for $400.00! Groan!  Wish I still had it!  Anyway it went thru the Proffitt Modification Mill. I put a decent running 327 in it. It had the old “Blue Flame 216 cubic inch six in it. I bought a rebuilt Muncie trans from Verl Weldon in Oregon City. It was a pretty good car. I had Jerry Ryser give it a complete Deltron Black paint job complete with all the body work old JR is famous for. I replaced lots of the chrome stuff on it like the hood bird and tail light bezels from Danchuck Engineering.  I was working for a 4 wheel drive shop at that time and I found a great 57 Ford small bearing 9 inch rear end for it, and I found a great nodular third member for it and promptly plopped a set of Zoom 4:56 gears in it riding on a Detroit Locker differential. I used 31 spline Ford axles and it was bullet proof for any sort of ammo the 327 could shoot at it. Well I made the mistake of driving it to work when I changed jobs and was working for the bus barn in Willamette. Barb Shook was a driver there and she was the wife of a consummate racer Butch Shook. So she took an interest in the 55 right away. Barb and I always hit it off anyhow because she loved hot rods, was pretty and used to wear Winternational Tank Top T’s to work. Her physical architecture made the print on the shirt go way 3 D if you know what I’m saying. So Barb told me that I should bring it down to Woodburn and see what it would do. I told her I just built it for a street ride. Every time after that Barb would ask me when I was gonna bring it down. So I finally did. The first time I drove it down the track was a real shock. So I came up with my own bit of wisdom I tell all the young guys that I hear bragging about how fast their cars are. It goes something like this. “The first time you run your car down the track you’ll find out how slow it really is.”  This was true for me especially. I figured my car to be a high 12 low 13 second car. It ran a middle 15 first time down the track! I was embarrassed! Hell I saw some econo buckets going that fast! A little fiddling around that day with the traction bars and my technique and I got it to run low 14’s.  Not to be outdone, I kept taking the car back. I didn’t like abusing the trans and the clutch like drag racing does so I decided to put an automatic in it. Most bracket cars run automatics in them now anyway. So I did that and put on a set of Mickey Thompson 11.5 X 29.5 slicks on the back. The car went 109 mph and 13.00 flat right off the trailer that day!  Wow I guess I was onto something here!  By the end of the day I was running high twelves. Getting a car to drop a full second off of its et (elapsed time) isn’t as easy as you think.

During this time the car ran right smack dab in the middle of what we used to call “heavy” bracket. There was a nice guy there that has a 1967 Ford Fairlane with a 390 FE big block in it. It was bright red. Really nice car too. It was a just as fast as my 55. Who won was just who cut the best light at the start that’s all. Sometimes he’d win and sometimes I’d win. I remember one day I was chopping the Christmas tree down pretty good ( making good starts off the starting tree)  He and I paired up. His dial in was only like a hundred of a second different from mine so it was more or less a heads up start. I think my car was a hundredth faster. Anyway from my view-point it looked like we left at the very same time.  Small block Chevs pull really good thru the first couple of gears before they run out of breath. Well I jumped ahead of him but only by a bumper length! I remember watching the tach. I’d shift it at 6500 rpm. I’d look back and here was Steve’s Red Fairlane right beside me! I caught him looking at me with his ever-present sun glasses on with a big smile on his face.  I had him by one bumper length! That ain’t much. So I had my foot thru the firewall! I was flogging that poor old 327 for every horsepower it would give me. Into high gear pedal to the floor hear my four barrel ring! LOL!  Steve’s Fairlane was right there, one bumper length behind me. All the way thru the last set of mile per hour clocks!  Even then I didn’t want to let up but I did. We both got all over the brakes. Steve had to use the last return road.  We went back to the pits. I was surprised I hadn’t run out my dial in because it felt like the best run of the day. But I was still in .  We got back to the staging lanes and Steve was all done racing for the day. I parked the car and went over to him.  He parked his car behind his trailer and got out of the Fairlane, slammed the door and had this great big grin on his face. His picture perfect smile with his shades on as he walked over to me. We gave each other a big hug. “Man that’s the best race I’ve ever had!” he told me!  “Me too!” I told him back. Steve and I used to go out of our way to look each other up so we would at least get a chance to race each other out of all the other cars there.  I remember one of the starters at Woodburn asked me one day he said “Hey Proffitt how do you and Steve always wind up racing each other? Out of 100 cars in your class you guys always wind up racing each other?”  I told him we wanted to. Steve beat me as much as I beat him. We never really cared, because that was the highlight of my race day was racing Steve.

Then I decided pull the small block out when it finally gave up the ghost and split number # 4 cylinder. This time I spared no expense. I built a full on 427 Big Block roller motor, with Dart Heads tons of compression. It needed some tuning after I got it down to the track. After changing the camshaft and the intake system on it, the torque converter and some other stuff, I got it to run middle 10 second passes at about 125 mph. I hear lots of bullshit about how so and so’s street machine runs 10s. Don’t you believe these whopper stories. I’m here to tell you how difficult it is to make a 3000 lb car run ANYWHERE in the tens.  I have a few yardsticks that measure a car’s ability to run that fast. First of all if the car is anywhere in the 3000 lb weight range it takes a MINIMUM of 750 horsepower and almost that much torque to run the 10 second numbers. Even if you have a car that can make that kind of power you have to get it to the ground. That’s another challenge that’s not easy to do. The first 60 feet off the race is where all the cars elapsed time is established. That’s why there’s a 60 foot timer on most good tracks.  A good 60′ time is like 1.58 etc. This not a zero to sixty time. It’s a zero to sixty feet out time.  I figured my 55 would do zero to 60 mph.  somewhere in the 2.5 second range. It would run 1.55 sixty footers most of the time.

Here’s what it’s like to run a 3000 lb car that was never designed for 750 horsepower down the track. First of all you have to do a burn out. The drag slicks have to get hot so the compound in the tire gets sticky. This makes the tires hook to the track real good. So you have to do a burn out. There’s even an art to this. Most good bracket cars have line locks on the front brakes which locks the front brakes without locking up the rear ones.  So you pull the car thru the water box. That’s an area of concrete with a pool of water on it. The water’s there to make it easier to get a pair of 14″ wide slicks rolling over on bare pavement. I used to hear all sorts of methods for doing a burn out most of which said to start the burn out in second gear, somehow supposed to me more humane on the trans? Nah I always started mine in low gear. I’d get the tires rolling after I got the line lock set. You have to hold down this little red button to keep the line lock turned on. So now I have the tires rolling over in low gear at a none too fast 3500 rpm. I shift it up into second and run the tach up to about 4000 rpm. Now the smoke is starting squirt out the sides of the fenderwells. I’d rev the motor up to about 4800 rpm and shift it up into high gear and run the motor up to about 4200 rpm. When the tires get hot they will start pulling the motor down if you don’t give it any more throttle. When I could hear this I’d release the line lock and ease back on the throttle very easily. We don’t want the rear end overrunning the sprague in trans. This would allow the car to usually come out of the water slowly. If you did it right it would roll out and onto the starting pad with the old Goodyear’s making fly paper- like sucking sounds as they kiss the hot, sticky track.  Most of the time you have to fan the drivers door to get the tire smoke out of the car so you can see again!  Then you ease the car into the first set of staging lights until they come on. The starter will come over and give you the ok to roll into the “staged” lights. Number two set is lit and you and the car are where you should be for the start. Now you put your foot on the foot brake and pull the trans back down into low gear. You wait for the guy your racing to get almost staged. I used to pick the rpm up a little bit until I saw his first staging lights come on. Some guys will try to screw around with your head and dilly dally around staging their car while your motor is up. I only had one guy do that with me. When I’d see his pre stage lights come on I’d pull the motor up to about 5000 rpm or maybe 55oo depending upon how much “hook” I was getting off the particular lane I was in.  When things are set the starter turns the Christmas Tree loose and it counts down with four yellow lights .5 seconds apart. The trick is to try and leave when the last yellow goes out. If you go when it’s still on all you get is a red light and your opponent gets the win. Ok so the Christmas tree is flashing down and it’s time to go. Punch the throttle to the floor, and take your foot off the brake. The front end of the car jumps up like it’s gonna tip over backwards. The car accelerates so hard in low gear it feels like someone slugged you in the stomach, and it makes you dizzy at the same time. It’s an unpleasant feeling.  You watch the tach and before you can take a breath the bright LED shift light comes on telling you the motors at its 7500 rpm shift point. So you shift it into second and everything starts in all over again just not quite as rudely as before. Still my stomach hurts and I’m still dizzy. I can take just a bit more time and look over the car and gauges. Now the shift light is on again and you shift it into high gear. Now the car is running down the track like a flipping cruise missile and you still at half track! You have another 1/8 of a mile to let it unwind! You think Jeez I’m going plenty fast right now!  So you hold the throttle down and let her unwind right out the back door past the last MPH clock.  You let up on this car easily. It has coil over rear suspension and wrinkle wall slicks that don’t take kindly to lots of immediate brake application. The suspension settles back down and you feel a slight fish tail as the side walls in the slicks come back from outer space. Now you get on the brakes and slow this freight train down. You turn the car up the last return road and kick the driver’s door open a little  and drive her up the return road past all the drooling fans in the stands. You pick up your time slip and drive back into the pits with it hanging out of your mouth.  You take a look at it and see if it’s as good as it felt. If your car is set up right it usually is.  That’s what it’s like driving a Pro bracket, 10 second drag race car. Drag race cars are the hardest accelerating cars on the planet, period.  Even a modest drag car will embarrass some expensive European sports cars badly thru a quarter-mile. Believe it. So I dont’ get revved up over Lambos, Ferrari’s and the like. Sure I’d like to have one but I can’t afford it. I’ll just have to put up with my 1968 Old Cutlass.



WR-134 is a Wolf-Rayet star that’s some 8000 light years from earth. Tonight I was watching a History Channel presentation of The Universe series. It’s pretty good. They have several scientist and astronomers that take turns kibitzing about whatever the subject of that particular series is. The topic for discussion was “Death Stars.” Good old 21st Century scare tactics at it’s best. Wolf-Rayet starts are massive (over 20 solar masses) stars that burn themselves up rapidly. WR-134 is supposed to be tilted so when it dies it may initiate a gamma ray burst  which is aimed directly at earth. Then we hear all the terrible things a gamma ray burst of this magnitude would do to the earth, like destroying the ozone layer, etc, mass extinction of all life, sound familiar? If it’s not comets, asteroids, then it’s gamma ray bursts.

I guess the thing that rankles me about all these scare tactics is that we are only hearing half of the facts here. Even if WF-134 blew up today we wouldn’t have to worry about it in thousands of lifetimes because the star is 8000 light years away!  This means to the distance challenged it would take the gamma ray photons from this star 8000 years to get here traveling at the speed of light!  Gamma ray photons are very energetic little sub atomic particles that can really foul up the human genome. Yeah they are something we as humans don’t want to get around. But if something like a gamma ray burst (GRB) happens there’s nothing we can do about it anyway. Who cares right now anyhow it won’t be here for 8000 years so what’s the big deal? 8000 light years is a long ways away. There’s lots of space, lots of dark matter, and dark energy between us and WF-134. All this might foul up a GRB along the way anyhow.

Then the next thing was rogue stars. Stars such as binary systems that get pulled into a black hole and one gets pulled in and the companion gets rudely slung out at relativistic velocities and flies through the universe or our galaxy. Some don’t go fast enough to leave the galactic gravitational boundary. Others called hyper velocity objects do. So what are the chances of the earth getting smacked by one of these rogue stars? Well I’m no scientist but it doesn’t take one to see the nonsense in this scenario. If these objects were common place enough to be a legitimate concern then we’d be hearing about them all the time.

Then the next doom and gloom deal was two neutron stars encircling each other and colliding. When this happens evidently a short duration GRB takes place that’s very high in energy levels. So if it hit the earth same deal.  Never mind that it takes on the order of 10s of billions of years for the stars to get close enough to collide in the first place. These shows like this clip off this part of the information process only giving the viewer what they consider to be worthy of interest. It’s a real half-assed way of presenting the facts. It is insulting besides because the History channel is just assuming that all of us are a bunch of beer swilling couch potatoes that don’t have a clue about the stars in the sky. I see a very distinct effort on the part of programs of this nature focusing on the doomsday scenarios. Probably to get people worried and stirred up so anything they can half-ass sling together will get people’s attention and hence increase their viewing. You have some of these scientists mouthing the rapidly wearing out buzz phrase “it’s not a question of if but of when.”  Dun da dun dun. How many times have you heard this crap by now? I’ve heard it from things about how Yellowstone is gonna blow up again, how California is gonna fall into the Pacific, how the earth will be struck by another “EVO” (extinction event object).  “The earth will be hit by another large asteroid, it’s not a question of if but of when.”  Well so be it. We can’t do a damn thing about it anyway. Boy some of the proposed solutions I’ve heard should be on a History channel “Crack Pots of the 21st Century ” series. Jeez, spray painting one side of an asteroid so the solar radiation pushes it slowly out-of-the-way. I don’t think there’s enough Krylon spray paint at Home Depot for that idea.  I also liked the idea of strapping a rocket motor to one and using it to push it out-of-the-way. How long does this rocket motor have to burn? Rocket motors aren’t noted for their duration events, just their total outputs which tend to make them of short duration.  Try pushing a mile wide asteroid that has lots of angular momentum going for it with a rocket from earth?  I dont’ think so. Something that size and speed has a fair amount of momentum to it and its gonna take more than a rocket motor booster to get its attention. Who thinks up this crap anyway?

This is all just my opinion on some of this stuff. Remember the hippie phrase “question authority”?  Well let’s continue to question things that are beyond normal common sense ok?   Some of the things I stated are factual. A light year is the distance light will travel in one year. It’s a distance yardstick for the spaces between things in the universe. It’s not a time scale. Although in the WF-134 scenario it might as well be. Light speed is the Universal speed limit. Nothing goes faster than the speed of light period. We’ve proved this  and Albert was right. I’ve heard that two objects such as two high-speed neutrinos approaching each other at the speed of light are actually exceeding the speed of light but it’s relative to each other. That’s the key here. Relative. Don’t take my word for it listen to Dr. Pamela Gay on her free podcasts explain the subject of it. So with that said, if WF-134 is indeed 8000 L Y away it will take 8000 years for the first gamma ray photon to reach the earth, assuming that it’s traveling at the speed of light. Even if it were only 200 LY away we’d all be dead when it got here anyway. It won’t happen in our lifetime, or your kids kids kids lifetimes.

Okay I guess that’s enough for this time, I made my point. Please dear readers don’t buy into all the BS you see on these supposedly prestigious science channels. If NOVA were putting it on I’d expect more truth in information. But I don’t like the way the History Channel presented some of its’ information. It was purposely off spun and important information was omitted for whatever reasons.  Let the viewer beware.


Entertainment In Our House

I was watching a Netflix disk of the Honeymooners this morning. It’s the real McCoy with Jackie Gleason, Audrey Meadows, Art Carney and Joyce Randolph.  It was an episode where Trixie, came down and was telling Alice about Norton buying them a new TV. The upshot of the show was Ralph and Norton buying a TV together because they couldn’t afford one individually. After  pause in the DVD for the commercial insertion, that thankfully isn’t there with the DVD, we return to the The Cramden’s kitchen with the TV set up. The camera shot is from the back and here’s this big boxy looking set with a pair of funky rabbit ears on top of it. Reminded me of the first TV set we got when I was a kid.

Dad brought home this big square box that sat on this pedastle that would rotate around and around. It was so stout you could have probably set a diesel engine on it and it would hold it up just fine. The TV was an RCA black and white cause there wasn’t any color yet. Also there was no such thing as just unpacking the TV and turning it on for a picture. Nope. You had to screw around with this bogus antenna sticking up on top of your roof. If you didn’t have an antenna up there you could forget about getting a picture period. No cable TV, no satellites. And if you lived in the middle of a valley forget about that too. TV transmissions didn’t like valleys and dips. If I remember my electronics, a TV transmission was sent like this:  Video was(FM modulated) with a the audio carrier and at the set the carrier FM, was stripped off as the audio track and the AM video went into the video circuits, which meant that video was line of sight stuff, so anyone in the valleys or behind a big hill was SOL. 

I remember Dad and our neighbor who happened to run a TV shop screwing around with this TV for hours!  Dad had this big round mirror sitting on chair in front of the screen, while he and Paul monkeyed around with a piece of tin foil wrapped around the antenna lead. Seems to me they had the back off of the set too. Finally they got a picture, snowy as it was. Dad had to go up on the roof (not an easy deal) due to its pitch, and move the antenna around while Paul yelled at him.  If I remember we had this sort of vocal bucket brigade going on. Paul was watching the TV and Mom and I relayed messages to Dad via Paul. What a hassle just to watch TV!  I think we had three channels when it was all said and done. 4, 6 and 12. Then 8 came on board and channel 2. I think channel two sorta bought out or absorbed channel 4. We got all of them but 8 and 12 came in the best. We had that TV for years before Dad broke down and bought a used color TV that had the resolution of an Etch-A-Sketch. It was a real P.O. S. too. But it was all we could afford.

Both my parents passed before they could watch their favorite stuff on hi-res flat screens. Dad would have flipped out.

I was watching the closing credits to the Honeymooners and got a kick out of the part about the camera. It went like this; Filmed on The DuMont Electronica Film Camera for TV films.”  Funny stuff. 

My Sister used to watch “My Friend Flicka.” Story of a girl and her horse. Funny thing about young girls and horses. They sorta go together like spring and daffodils do.  I liked the science fiction stuff like Commando Cody, Captain Midnight, and the cartoons too, like Mighty Mouse. We always seemed to have a viewing schedule that was never at odds with what my sister wanted to watch and me, or my parents. If it did we had to take turns, and Mom got the job of remembering who watched what last week.  Poor woman! 

If we wanted to listen to music, all I had to do was sit around and prod my parents just a wee bit and Mom and Dad would provide that live for Sis and me. Mom would get on the piano and Dad would break out his tenor sax, or clarinet, which ever suited him at the time. Usually it was the sax. Naturally it was a second-hand thing that Dad got from some pawn shop. He had to have it repadded, and the dude that did it didn’t get it all quite right so on some notes it would sound a bit wheezy, which was funny and Dad always made that part funny. He would get to clowning around on it and he’d have Mom laughing so hard she couldn’t play the piano any more.  Dad would say it “sounded like I was choking a cat!”  Indeed.  He was funny and could hardly resist the urge to clown around. It used to make Mom a bit peeved at times, because her sense humor was a lot different from Dads. Stuff that he found funny she’d say “Hubert, that’s not funny!”  He didn’t care he’s just go on with whatever he was doing and it always made my Sis and I laugh a lot.  Now if you got my Dad and my Uncle Chuck together that was a real show. My Uncle Chuck was as crazy as Dad but in a different sorta way and it was new to Lois and I so it was great. We used to go down to Norwalk California to visit my Uncle Chuck and Aunt Babe and my cousin Mike and Bernice. Lots of fun in Southern California. Too bad it’s still not like it was then.


The Art Of The Craft

Being a mechanic for over 36 years teaches you some things along the way. First of all you can’t stay in the profession without learning, it’s very difficult. I do know some people whom I will not call mechanics that have managed to stay in the profession and haven’t learned a damn thing.  That’s why they’re not mechanics. The very word mechanic is almost synonymous with the compound word Bio-Mechanics. I think H.R. Geiger coined this combination. It combines the title to the individual in such as way as to make one consider the word and the human as a sort of bio-mechanism. When one thinks of a good mechanic visuals of  a human with an uncanny ability to solve mysterious mechanical problems that make ordinary folks shake their heads. A sort of creature that has an unhealthy amount of empathy for any sort of machinery not just cars and trucks.

I’m here to tell you that part of this is true. If you are a good mechanic then there are peripheral things that you start to develop besides the obvious problems of said vehicle. For instance, when I would get a truck in the shop I would ask all sorts of questions about it, not only from my immediate supervisor, but if I could coral the driver and keep him from launching into an oratory of every conceivable problem on his vehicle, what his take was on the problem.  I need input. Nothing is worse than hearing, “Well the driver says the truck pulls.” (this has to do with the truck steering and wanting to pull to the left or the right.)  Ok which way does it pull? Does it pull all the time or just on braking? Does it pull going down hills only?  Did it pull after we put the new steer tires on it?  All these questions are relevant and necessary if you are to find the problem. Most problems such as these are not obvious as one might think.  A bad mechanic doesn’t ask lots of questions, he doesn’t look over a huge section of the problem area real estate. Problems sometimes pop up in unrelated areas. One area may or may not affect the other but if a problem is found it needs to be corrected ASAP, not the next time the vehicle is in for service.  Just my thoughts on how I did my job.

I used to take failed components apart if it didn’t take longer than a few minutes. You can learn “oodles” from post mortem’s on failed parts.  A lot of the time a failed part isn’t really from manufacturing defects, it’s from incorrect specification on someone’s part. Using a part that won’t stand the load, using a part or running it past its design parameters.  When I worked for a propane company the delivery trucks used a long driveshaft that came off the power take off unit (PTO) on the side of the transmission. It would run for sometimes ten feet with a couple of universal or constant velocity (CV) joints between the PTO and the propane pump which was located underneath the main propane tank. I’ve seen these driveshafts with their universal or CV joints running at severe angles. Angles that had the fabricator taken more time with would have resulted in a much better component life. One of the problems we had with the pump driveshafts was u-joint or CV joint failure due to it being under-speced for the job. Stepping up to the next larger sized U-joint tripled the life of that component. Going up one component size was a non-linear progression. It more closely resembles an inverse square relationship which is great when it comes to parts life.

I tried to talk the company I worked for into upgrading all the trucks on a one on one basis to the larger shaft size. I did it on my own on one truck and the pump drive shaft was still good two years afterwards! We used to only get sometimes 4 or 5 months on a driveshaft!  Large corporations have way too much political crap and special interest groups selling parts to listen to peons like myself. Parts manufacturers salesmen are the biggest whores in fleet maintenance you will ever see. They jump into bed with every head of maintenance person in every fleet equipped company there is.

Ok I’m done with that rant. The thing is there are just ways of doing your job as a mechanic that keep that very same vehicle from coming back around and biting you in the ass. I used to tell my constituents at work ” I don’t need to do the job over again, I know how to do it, and I don’t need the practice.” I used to get bitched at because my what was called “SRP (Standard Replacement Time)” was in excess of some company morons idea of how long it should take you to do a specific job on a truck. Well what about the SRP time for a redo? Huh? How much time does that take? How much money does it cost the company to shut the truck down, take it off-line, bring it back in and put someone else on it, that may or may not know what the hell he’s doing or how to fix it?  This vehicle was supposed to be fixed the first time, now it’s back in the shop for the same thing all over again. It may not get fixed this time around either! Picture that!  So over the years I developed a list of things that I looked for that were guaranteed to bring the truck back into the shop if left un-repaired. I would repair the problem then repair the rest of the problems I found if I had the time. If not I always made a note of it and passed on the info to the next shift. That’s just being professional. When you do this long enough you start to develop a pride in your work if you are at all introspective. You learn what it takes to make your repair look professional. If you are being paid to repair something, anything then that makes you a professional. Your work should look like a professional did it. I can tell you that the majority of the work I saw at my last job looked anything but professional. Half-assed or ignored problem areas, shoddy workmanship, just a “don’t give a shit” attitude. I was really surprised most of the time. One would think you could get used to it, and just when I thought I had along would come another Grand Mal screw up of epic proportions, enough to make me shake my head and laugh.

I’ve worked on enough poorly designed cars and trucks that when I’m fabricating something on my 1968 Olds Cutlass I try to make it real “Dave Friendly” because I’m the one on the other end of the wrench! If my car is a pain in the ass to work on then whose fault is that? Mine! My friend commented on my Olds today which I appreciated hearing he said something like “you do everything with such class.”  It’s the Art of the Craft. It just comes with doing it for a long, long time. I don’t think of myself as any sort of Rembrandt with an end wrench. I just strive to do the best work I can on my own cars. It keeps them from coming back and biting me in the ass!


Aging Badly

Tonight I was considering some friends of mine. I remember how we all used to be friends. As time passed some of those relationships changed. One stands out in my mind further than any other. I had a mutual friendship with two relatives of each other cousins actually. When I first met these two guys one cousin was living with the other one. Everything was cool, they both liked each other. Well we all grew up and the cousin that was staying with the other one finally got married. I sort of lost touch with both of them, both were not living close to me any more. I managed to stay in touch with whom I’ll call #1. The other one I’ll call #2.  Number two got to the point that he was taking himself way too seriously.  He actually got more acidic with age, something that usually goes the other way with age. I lost #1 to cancer. He was a most apathetic sort but he was still my friend and #2’s cousin. When I told #2 of #1’s cancer he was surprised. He had some sort of stupid family feud going on with number 1 for a long time unbeknown to me. So #2 didn’t have any idea that his cousin was terminal with cancer. How stupid. I told him when and where the funeral was but he never bothered to go. How petty can you get?

#2’s cousin in now dead. It doesn’t make for a feud or hard feelings any longer because the other player is dead. That still didn’t cut any ice with #2. He’s sticking to his guns and will go to his grave never considering his feelings for his dead cousin. He will have to bear the burden of remembrance that he never went to the funeral and let his cousin die a horrible death with no support from that side of his family who, just years before were fast friends. What causes a person to rot inside like this? What causes a person to become so angry with a family member that it turns their heart to stone and they totally loose all feelings for the person and could care not one penny for the person’s life or existence? What makes a person consider any sort of bad experience perpetuated on them by a cousin or family member worthy of such a total disregard for the other’s well-being?  Please someone shoot me in the head if I ever get this way.  I never figured person #2 to ever be capable of this behavior. I have since severed my friendship with this person, as I don’t need friends like this, and don’t want any. Number 2’s family has a history of cancer. His older brother died of it and so did his younger brother. If I were #2 I think I’d be concerned. Karma has a way of coming back around to bite you in the ass, and maybe #2 will get his in the form of cancer as well. Gee I wonder who in the family will come to his comfort? Maybe his wife and kids? That’s all.

I find it inconceivable that someone could be that cold and lifeless inside from anything so trivial as a family disagreement.  I have found that as I become older my heart seems to be smiling at more people than ever before, smiling at people I don’t even know. I think that’s the way it’s supposed to work, not the other way around.

We are never so important that we should forget someone on their death-bed. We are all human beings. We have all made mistakes, I’ve made so many myself, but I thank the Lord for letting me learn from them. To err is human, learning from mistakes is human. Only a fool continues to err and makes no attempt to learn.

I hear and see people all the time who are rushing around with their lives. They are just so busy, having to do this and go there and have no time for friends, no time for driving to see someone, just because you haven’t seen them in a long time, not because it’s a convenient time in their busy schedule.  YOU ARE NOT THAT IMPORTANT!  NO ONE IS!  No one is too important to be a decent human being, period. There are no excuses here, no reasons, you have to make time in your schedule for loved ones AND FRIENDS.  If you don’t you are the only one that is going to suffer for it, and of course some of your loved ones. Your friends will realize that you are too busy for them and you will lose them. At the very least it will drop you way down on their list of friends they consider close. So think about this, and think about the two cousin’s above, if you are introspective. If not then you are Aging Badly.


The Picture

The picture on my living room wall.
From a head shop in a mall.
It’s Decoupage picture glowing
With a large water rock flowing.

Four streams into a sunlit meadow.
It’s light dancing off the stream’s albedo.
Butterflies in this warm surreal world.
Beckons to weary eyes a path unfurled.

A place we’d all rather be.
It continually calls to me.
Truly a sight for sore eyes.
It’s visions will mesmerize.

High wispy clouds and blue skies.
Mountains on distant horizons rise.
Their bases disappearing into purple haze.
Human Genome cannot resist this gaze.

“Keep the picture covered most of the time”.
Advice from the head shop owner’s chime.
Smiles at the look on my face.
Watches my smile erase.

Friendly advice from this middle aged hippie.
His sardonic smile with eyes a bit zippy.
Something’s strange with this plywood masterpiece.
A strange darkness belies it’s peace.

I wake up with no alarm clock warning.
It’s face red litten at three am this morning.
I can hear the sound of a water fountain.
From the water rock near the mountain.

In the picture on my living room wall!
It’s subtle message to me does call.
I cover it up with an old pillow case.
It’s sound dies with diminishing grace.

The day dawns with sunshine and breezes.
To wintered hearts it pleases.
This ambassador of spring.
Banishes the darkest night wings.

I open my windows to this welcome guest.
It’s presence is always blessed
This time of the year.
This harbinger of cheer.

The playful wind has loosened the pillow case.
From the plywood picture’s face.
Mountain breezes’ daughter.
And laughing fountain rock’s water.

A small bird in my house is flying.
To find an escape it is trying.
It flies into the picture lost forever more.
It’s passage becoming the picture’s lore.

I see it now perched on top of the stone fountain.
Near the blue and purple mountains.
It’s pleading- calling to me.
Now other things I’m starting to see.

Alien creatures of rainbow hues.
Huge flying reptiles in yellows and blues.
All prisoners behind the picture’s view.
Their haunting eyes seeing thru me into you.

Lost humans, lost loves, they’re all here.
In this strange vista-this picture queer.
They can all see me of this I’m sure.
I dare not venture close to this picture’s lure.

A black hole of souls on my wall.
I can hear their anguished calls.
I can feel their cosmic pleas.
I can feel their will to be free.

I watch a flying creature come into view.
Trailing wakes of blue dissolving into blackened hues.
I’ve seen this reaction to movement before.
Around the Stones of Izee, at it’s core!

Is this a portal to the Stones of Izee?
My Dog and I witness of things not meant to see.
An alien’s game played with creature’s strife.
An Alien game played with other-world life.

“David, what it this thing on your wall?”
Athaliah asks me thru her 5th century drawl.
“I thought it just a picture of.”
“Tis the portal of a necromancer my love.”

Athaliah’s gaze to me is deathly and fixed.
Her sapphire liquid eyes, seriously transfixed.
“David you must destroy this black art!”
“For it was born out of a black heart!”

“I think I know where it came from.”
“From the land where strange black rocks hum.”
“Athaliah my Queen will you help me please?”
Her lovely hand wraps around mine with a squeeze.

I cover the picture with the pillow case.
I take it down from it’s resting place.
Somehow it knows it’s own fate.
It’s getting heavier at an exponential rate.

Athaliah’s eyes are brightening.
The fires within them heightening.
Her eyes are becoming frightening.
The picture is purple litten from her lightening.

It’s lying on the floor blackened and smoking.
It’s smoke foul and choking.
“Let us cast out this abomination from your house.”
Words of wisdom from my elemental spouse.

This smoldering garbage on my living room floor.
Has no mass and is heavy no more.
We sweep it into a large dust pan.
From there to the bottom of a garbage can.

“David you must not keep this thing here.”
“For it is evil and it is queer.”
“An unnatural abomination unto man.”
“It must be returned unto it’s own land.”

More words of wisdom from my 5th century Queen.
“Athaliah your wish is my command.”
“We shall return this abomination unto it’s own land.”
The lights in Athaliah’s eyes sparkle and sheen.

The old road winds off the main highway.
It’s entrance chained shut on this byway.
A long chain blocks this driveway.
Polished black by heat, dust and sway.

“No Trespassing” the sign hangs.
From rusty barbwire against it’s chain bangs.
A warning to all who seek it’s access.
To those who would give entrance a test.

Red volcanic pumice throws heat waves
Mirages flicker from the old road way.
A gust of dry hot air plays with the sign.
Etches it’s signature so fine.

We stand at this gateway to who knows where.
Wondering if Athaliah,my Dog and I should dare.
To enter this land in there.
It’s lost secrets, it holds dear.

Vast horizontal vistas I see in all directions.
A sea of dry things with no reflections.
Under a hot blue cloudless sky.
This place where no birds fly.

We round an uphill corner and see.
Two huge Juniper trees’
Gnarled and twisted by unseen hands.
Form an entrance way into this strange land.

The roadway strangely absent of tire tracks.
Traffic from another time it now lacks.
The air up here is hot and still.
It carries an essence of undisturbed solitude.

Our passage thru it makes visible wakes of blue.
Dissolving into veins of a blackened hue.
I stop and it disappears from view.
We move again it’s start anew.

A strange distant resonance I hear.
Strange notes on a melody queer.
This strange song calling us.
I put my hands over my ears and cuss.

We are in this forsaken place.
Of blue mist and strange songs.
Of a place where time’s gone wrong.
We continue up the road in no haste.

The road ends in a giant clearing.
The song ends that I am hearing.
The solitude returns to us.
A rustless land of sage and dust.

In the center of the clearing a ring of bones.
Surrounding eight- thirty foot obsidian stones.
Around the midsection a huge gold band.
Not of this earth not of this land.

We stand mesmerized by this sight.
Eight black stones thirty feet in height.
Strange ideograms adorn the gold band.
From some other time another land.

My senses are telling me to flee.
As we draw nearer I see.
Such symmetry such grace.
Alien in origin, alien to this place.

Obsidian polished to unimaginable luster.
Achievements humans are unable to muster.
Engineering from cosmic declination and ascension.
I wonder it’s use this alien invention.

Curiosity overcomes caution I must seen this.
My motion parts the blue mist
Zephyr is reluctant to follow.
“Come on” my voice strangely hollow.

We are within the monument’s influence.
Words have strange timbre in this confluence.
Crystal cylinders surround the stones bases.
Strange symbols there strange faces.

A huge circle of bones surrounds the base.
Huge skulls and rib cages gathered around this place.
Bones of beasts scattered random and myriad.
Bones of beasts from the Jurassic Period.

“You must cast the picture into the circle my love.”
A strange purple glow around the stones from above.
“What have you done?”
A strange alien says holds something like a gun.

“You cannot leave this place.”
He is now looking at Athaliah’s face.
“We will leave because I wish it.”
The fire in Athaliah’s eyes begin to flit.

Before the alien can raise his gun.
He erupts with the brilliance of the sun.
He explodes into dazzling photons of light.
With Athaliah’s fury – with her deadly sight.

The picture has dissappeared from whence it came.
Nothing left but a colum of blue flame.
Huge flying reptiles in yellows and blues.
Creatures of rainbow hues.

Lost humans, lost loves, they’re all here.
“We’re free thank you.”
They say to Athaliah my Dog and I.
Which brings a tear to Athaliah’s deep blue eyes.

“I know how they feel.” She tells me.
I kiss the tears from the corners of her eyes.
“Thank you for letting me help” she sighs.
“Thank you for setting them free.”

My Queen is with me and within me.
She’s in the twenty first century for all to see.
What a rare gift I have.
To show her to you.

Dave Proffitt
Wednesday March 24 2010
10:35 pm

Athaliah Returns

I can hear her whispering in my mind.
This vixen queen from an ancient time.
“David my twenty-first century man.”
“No one loves me throughout this land.”

“My heart bleeds for thee.”
Wouldst thou not love me?”
Poignant pleadings from a loveless queen.
This exchange time is not between.

This sorceress queen weaves her magic unto me.
Her ministries unto my heart her key.
To my love for her.
To times that are and times that were.

I can feel myself slipping away.
I lose a little more each day.
“An audience I ask of thee”.
She asks of me.

She handles me so gently.
From women of my time incidentally.
“Athaliah an audience I grant to thee.”
“Your presence most welcome unto me.”

“I have thought of thee since our last time.”
Her memory appears and sublimes in my mind.
“David thy thoughts make me smile”
“I feel ye art a man of no guile.”

Rolling thunder in the distance I hear.
“I am coming to thee have no fear”
Lightening illuminates the sky.
Her face fleeting on storm clouds high.

A swirling purple haze
Upon my living room lays.
Her scent intimate on purple mist.
This queen’s perfume I am unable to resist.

This beautiful queen in my living room appears.
Her wondrous sapphire eyes afloat in a sea of tears.
“Oh David I fear that no one loves me but thee.”
Her diamond tears down her noble cheeks flee.

I touch her face with my hand.
Her tears upon my hand now stand.
I touch her tears to my lips.
She replaces them with her fingertips.

Her fingers smell of sea breezes and myrrh.
My caress makes her heart stir.
Her fingers tipped with black onyx nails.
They taste of sadness and of wails.

I can feel her heart heavy upon my soul.
I feel something terrible has taken its toll.
Upon this queen’s ravaged heart.
I surrender my heart to her some part.

I feel the storm within her lift.
Love heals her wounded heart’s rift.
“You have given me such a precious gift.”
“In your love I am adrift.”

Her blue eyes of tears have dried.
Tiny crow’s feet at the corners of her eyes.
A testament to her soul’s trials.
To find love and peace has cried.

“Athaliah my queen what am I to do with thee?”
“David my twenty first century man just love me.”
“Fear thee not you have my love forever more.”
“May I kiss thee?” of me she implores.

Her thin red lips upon mine I feel.
Her touch makes my spirit reel.
She intoxicates me beyond all measure.
Her touch beyond all pleasure.

She laughs “My dear man I feel you are in love with me.”
Her sapphire eyes raining tears I see.
She cries for belonging and relief
She cries for love and belief.

Her tears fall lightly upon my face.
Of grace and beauty they taste.
I am grateful for this moment in time.
To hold this woman- her heart realigns.

A wondrous beauty from the past.
In her own time from her people outcast.
My love for her stands fast.
My love for her will outlast.

The Pyramids and the Sphinx
Her past to my time is linked.
I can feel the warmth in her soul.
My love into her heart is starting to flow.

She is shaking and she trembles
Her heart and face now resemble
A woman with a new lease.
A woman now at peace.

“Thank you my love” her tilting eyes.
Caressing her breathy sighs.
I kiss her thin red lips
She’s trembling and crying.

“Love me David” she is sighing.
“For my heart to thee is trying”
“To stay in this time with thee.”
“Within you and within me.”

“They call me back! “ She pleas.
“Keep me David!” “Let me stay with thee!”
“Unto what makes thee stay?”
“Your love for me to the stars you must say.”

“I beseech the stars and heaven above”
“This is Athaliah the woman I love!~”
“Let her stay with me till the end of time.”
And the thunderheads into the sky did climb.

And the lightening flashed purple litten
And the storm clouds within it were smitten
And a voice came out of the storm saying.
“Athaliah if thou loves this man”

“Then I will forgive thee”.
Thou must love only him and Me.”
“Make no graven idols or images before thee.”
And you will stay with him forever more.”

And Athaliah was on her knees weeping.
For these were tears of joy seeping.
Into the floor of my living room.
This ancient queen now safe from her doom.

And the multitudes of Judah did ponder.
Where their queen did wander.
A question beyond small minds.
A question for all time.

And I did love Athaliah till the end of days.
And this love was legendary or so the legend says.
To be with her -To love her.
To hold her forevermore.

Dave Proffitt
2:35 AM