If you have been reading my little stories, you will notice that most
have been about my partners or crewmembers. This one's about me, so if
the crew and my friends are reading these stories, it proves I am not just
bringing forth their little mistakes and quirks. This story really
doesn't have too much to do with the racing scene, although it sure
shows you the skills I developed by hanging around cars and building
things. So here goes. The wife and I had moved into our first real house.
Naturally, we wanted a nice lawn like the neighbors. So super wrench, that's
me, goes off to buy a riding lawn mower. I was hoping it would look
something like a funny car.
A couple of months go by and the mower is working fine. The lawn's
looking great, and we have had the new neighbors over several times for
picnics. I come home from work one day and the wife tells me she has a
problem. We had a second story deck on the back of the house. The small
hill next to the back door was stacked with wooden railroad ties. The
beams from the deck were overhead. I had put eyehooks in the beam so the
wife could hang up her plants under the deck. See tells me a hornet stung
her right under her arm when she hung up another plant. Use you're
racing skills and eliminate them right now she says. I look at her and
tell her no problem.
I go out to look for the source of the hornet. Sure enough, they have a
big nest built into the railroad ties. I can see them coming and going
from the nest's opening. I show the wife the cause of her painful
experience. The hornet stung her right above her you know whats (pair),
and I figured the little devil and his friends has it coming to them; they
probably spoiled my evening. I go down to the local hardware store to see
what I can buy to kill the little buggers. I look at the wasp and hornet
spray. I also looked at the price, $3.95. That's a ridiculous price just
to kill bugs. Now remember, this is rational thinking from someone who is
willing to pay $25.00 a gallon for Nitro. Back to the house. I'll save
the money and think of another way to kill them. I know water won't
work. What's left to try?
I look over at the tractor, still dreaming of it being a funny car, and
look at the exhaust pipe. Should be a weed whacker type pipe, I'm
thinking. All of a sudden, I know how to kill the hornets: I'll gas
them. Good old blacky carbon. I think up how to attach a secondary pipe to
the exhaust pipe on the tractor. Attach a hose to it and stick the hose
into the nest. I tell the wife of my intentions; she gives me that ‘oh
no not again' look, and says, "Just go buy the spray." I keep
thinking that if this works, I could make up kits and sell them. I'm
dreaming of aluminum blocks and heads for the Hemi Hunter. Me being on TV,
selling the kits to thousands of suffering people. Off I go to the speed
shop for some tubing, clamps, fittings, and hose.
I know I need to keep track of what I spend, so I know how much to sell
the kits for. I tell the guys at the speed shop what I'm up to. They
listen intently to my plans. As I get in my car, I see them laughing like
hyenas. Jeez, maybe we'll team up with John Deere, get them for a
sponsor, paint the HH green, I stop right there. The picture of the Jade
Grenade flashes through my mind. I'm working in the garage making up the
parts, which cost about $14.00. If this works, $28.00 bucks sounds like a
fair price, double your money, double your fun and the kit could be used
for years. Not like some dumb old spray. All those years of racing skills
are shown in the pipe and hose system. It's beautiful, what a kit. The
wife is checking on me to see if her little problem is about to be solved.
I tell her that in the morning, the AA fuel kit will revenge her against
the enemy. She just replies to me, "You're out of your mind again.
What if they get really mad and sting you?"
She has a point there. What to do for the first trial, how do I protect
myself? I remember a Halloween costume I made up for a party we went to. I
dressed up as a three-legged old man. I had an old man's rubber
facemask, rubber feet, and hands. I had screwed a sneaker onto a crutch,
covered the crutch with a pants leg, and wore a large overcoat. My two
legs and the crutch leg made it look like I had a third leg. During the
party, I got so good at walking around I could even dance with the three
legs. Now I knew the rubber mask, feet, and gloves were the answer to my
protection. I would wear them during the first fire up of the system.
I tell the wife my intentions again. I really didn't think it was
that funny. She's laughing and running over to the neighbors. Night
passes and the next day dawns with great hope and much involvement within
the neighborhood. The wife has told everyone not to miss this show. I
figure what the heck; they can be the first customers for the kit. The
wife is serving sandwiches and goodies to the group of neighbors. I'm
starting to feel like I'm selling snake oil out West. I'm real proud
of the workmanship that went into the kit. I'm explaining how easily it
attaches to the exhaust pipe. The quality of construction and so on. One
of the guys says, "Gary, knock off the bull and let's see if it
I back the tractor up to the spot next to the nest. I go get into my
rubber protective suit. Now I know how Dale feels when he's suiting up
for a pass in the HH. The folks are running for shelter or at least going
to a point of safety. So here's the scene: I'm in the old man's
Halloween costume. I place the hose into the nest's opening ever so
carefully. I'm sitting on the tractor and the countdown is proceeding.
What the heck is everyone laughing about; I can't look that funny. I
pull the choke on full, lots of smoke for the little buggers. I turn the
key and the tractor fires up. Well, all I can remember is seeing a huge
yellow cloud of something. I realize it's the hornets; I must have
really pissed them off. I'm sprinting across our lawn in the costume at
full speed. I can really run when I need to, I'm thinking. I'm so
fast, I run right out of the rubber feet. The whole neighborhood is
running for cover and safety. I can't see anything with the rubber mask
on, especially the support wire on a telephone pole. They're pretty
springy if you catch them at the right spot.
Did you know that a hornet can sting you right threw a pair of jeans?
And do you know that $3.95 isn't such a bad price for something that can
kill a hornet on the spot? And did you know that it takes about three
weeks for the swelling to go away from their sting, not to mention the
black and blue marks? And did you know that grass can really grow tall
when you can't even sit on your bug-killing, grass-cutting machine for a
couple of weeks?