(originally posted 10/13/2015)
Eddie Brickel sat in the sweltering heat and sweltered. The fact that he was given a last name just goes to show you the interestingness of the coming tale. He sat in his new car and fiddled with the air conditioning and briefly thought about how ironic it was that he’d bought the car to be cooler.
When he returned the vehicle to the dealership where he’d purchased it they gave him a loaner and, seemingly against all odds, within hours of pulling out of their parking lot the air conditioning stopped working. This was during the biggest heat wave the area had seen in years so you can imagine his temperament on the return visit. If you were to have used one of those thermal imagers on him he would have appeared entirely red with a band of darker red under his collar.
With an attempt at humor and some heartfelt apologies they handed him the keys to yet another car and sent him on his way.
It was early the next morning that the air conditioning on this loaner went kaput.
This time the dealership summoned their Service Manager. His name, inconveniently enough, was also Eddie. Eddie the Service Manager asked Eddie the new car owner to sit with him in his cramped little office.
“Have you ever seen the movie The Cooler?” he began.
Unbeknownst to Eddie the Service Manager Eddie the new car owner was a huge William H. Macy fan.
“Of course I have. Why?” Eddie the new car owner inquired. If this seems a bit snippy please remember that this was his third trip to this automobile establishment in the past two days.
Eddie the Service Manager, realizing the foul mood of the gentleman sitting across from him, went right to the point. “The premise of the movie is that there was a man who could affect the luck of gamblers simply by being in close proximity to them.”
“And?” The “and” was said in a way that if anything but a clear reason for mentioning the premise of the movie was offered that Eddie the new car owner would no longer be responsible for his actions. In order to ease the tension Eddie the Service Manager leaned back and took a breath.
“I’d like to tell you a brief story, if you’ll allow me, that will throw some clarity onto my Cooler reference.”
Eddie the new car owner, with a slight grimace, nodded his approval.
“This was a few years back, at a dealership a few counties away. Near Flint. I heard it straight from the mouth of a mechanic up there so I know it’s true.” Eddie the Service Manager licked his lips in a way that made it clear that storytelling was not his strong suit.
“There was this guy and he bought a new car and after only a week the driver’s side window wouldn’t close.”
Eddie the new car owner shifted in his chair as if to say that the story was not living up to his expectations vis-a-vis explaining the William H. Macy allusion. Eddie the Service Manager lifted his hand up as if to say the next few sentences would make it all clear.
“They gave him a loaner car and lo and behold who drives back into the dealership an hour later with a stuck window? The same guy. Do you see where I’m going with this?”
After a moment of deep reflection Eddie the new car owner could only offer up a “No.”
“So they give this guy another loaner and send him on his way. Now I didn’t mention it at first but it bears mentioning now… it was the depths of winter. So this guy ends up driving with his family to visit his folks in Saginaw and rolls down his window at a toll booth. It wouldn’t go back up. They have to drive the whole way home with the window down. They all nearly got frostbite.”
Eddie the new car owner digested it and then asked “Rolled down? The loaner didn’t have power windows?”
“Of course it had power windows… I said rolled down because it means the same thing.”
“Good. I was gonna say, who would give a loaner car without power windows? It would reflect badly on the dealership.”
It was Eddie the Service Manager’s turn to get annoyed. “You’re missing the point. The point is that much like William H. Macy, some people just interact badly with things. The guy in Flint… power windows. You… air conditioning.”
“So what do you suggest?” asked Eddie the new car owner.
“ What did William H. Macy do to change his luck?”
“Are you as an auto care professional suggesting a trip to Vegas?” Eddie the new car owner seemed to brighten up ever so slightly.
“Not exactly” countered Eddie the Service Manager. “I just thought a cocktail waitress might be exactly what your air conditioner needs.”
“But that’s what buying the new car was all about in the first place. I wanted to be cool enough to get a girl.” He paused briefly. “I knew I should have gotten the sun roof.”
The chicken or the egg nature of the dilemma hung in the air between them.