I bought a 4-door silver Plymouth Fury in 1979. I bought after being without wheels as a college freshman and relying on others for rides. Dad decided I needed to learn how to change a tire, open the hood and “check under the hood.” To this day I’m not exactly sure what I was checking for other than if there was enough oil and if it was clear. I went through the motions to make him feel better about sending me on the highway, praying I’d never have to really use the lessons he was teaching. Luckily, I’ve only been stranded once and it wasn’t for anything under the hood. It was a flat tire fixed by a kind farmer on North Dakota’s Interstate 94.
“Check under the hood” has stuck with me but the meaning isn’t as literal as the initial lesson taught that hot August afternoon on the farm’s gravel driveway. Instead it’s come to mean maintenance and protecting one’s investment. And as I age, holy smokes, I’m doing a lot of “checking under the hood.” So much so that some days I’d like to invest in a new model, one with fewer maintenance issues. And, I’m not talking about the vehicle either. Rather my body. Relate?
Today my annual physical is much like a 100,000 mile vehicle check. It takes a whole day and involves looking at everything from front to back to top to bottom. What needs further testing? What needs repair? What needs replacement? Question the recommendation. Get a second opinion. Make another appointment. See a specialist. Extract a part. Import a part. Sticker shock! Yikes! You get it.
Despite all this, I keep “checking under the hood.” I drive my vehicles until the wheels fall off-that’s a whole ‘nother story. Warren Buffet and I share that in common-if it ain’t broke-why replace it? Begrudgingly I schedule annual physicals, dental appointments and other wellness exams each time hoping to leave doing my best impersonation of a smiling Mary Tyler Moore tossing her hat jubilantly in the air celebrating life and all its glory.
“You’re gonna make it after all”…just keep “checking under the hood.”
Copyright. October 2015. Linda Leier Thomason
All Rights Reserved.