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Auto terminology translated here

September 19, 2012
By Larry DeHays , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

When your thingamajig won't fit into the whozis, you are probably starting a bad day. Everybody occasionally forgets some, ah, whatyacallits, oh yeah, nouns, and especially names, at times, but sometimes the problem is that we don't actually know what the proper name of something really is, or what a technical phrase really means.

So although we can't improve your pronunciation of nukular (like George W. Bush and Sara Palen), or teach you to spell potatoe (like Dan Quail), maybe we can shed a little light on some automotive phrases and explain how they translate into everyday life.

For instance:

Not hitting on all cylinders. If it's about a car, it means the engine has a miss. If it's about a guy, it means he's not the sharpest tool in the shed, or his elevator doesn't go to the top, or he's not playing with a full deck. Impaired. Alcohol may be involved, in the car's tank or in him.

Going to the limp-in mode. The car's computer has lost control of the engine, and it now barely runs, but it should make it home. There's a hitch in it's giddyup. Or driving home after closing time at the bar. Usually done by a guy described above.

Hammer down. Pushing the accelerator pedal to the floor. Flooring it. Pedal to the metal. Or what the judge does with the gavel at your trial. Usually done by the above guy in limp-in mode.

Over-heated. The temperature gauge reads in the red. Steam coming from the engine. Or steam coming from the wife's ears when you make it home in limp-in mode. Or, if you don't.

Threw a rod. A piston has become disconnected from the crankshaft because the connecting rod has broken. Or how the wife moved your fishing gear to the front yard, next to your clothes. Usually results from the hammer-down session.

It's toast. The particular part being discussed is ruined. The car has burned. The mechanic you're talking to has a kid in college and tuition is due. Or, it's the answer to your question about the ash on your breakfast plate the next morning.

Bail-out. What the government did for the company that made your lousy car. What a bilge pump does for a sinking boat. Or, what your wife does for you when you go to jail for hammering down while limping home until it overheated and threw a rod and you got arrested. She does it because she needs you at home where she can properly scold you.

Re-computing. What your GPS voice says when you make a wrong turn. The method of estimating the time it will take to pay off your credit card debt after your bail and fines.

That ends the lesson for today. No exam questions to follow. Hope it helps.



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