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Guilty or not – You decide

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

A man recently complained that his car was overheating. Technicians checked the gauge on his dash, which read in the normal range, and used an infrared sensor on the engine. It was at normal temperature. The diagnosis was that it was not overheated.

The man was adamant that sometimes he could "smell" that the car was overheated. He drove away. Sometime later in another town, his engine ran out of coolant because of a leaking water pump and was ruined. He blames the first garage for not finding the problem in time. The difference here is that his sense of smell was probably picking up hot antifreeze from the leaking pump, rather than his sense of touch feeling the temperature of the engine.

Who was right and wrong here?

He was correct that he smelled something, and the technicians were right that the engine was not overheated. He was wrong to assume that the smell was overheating, and they were wrong for not checking further for the smell he complained of. Many times a water pump will not leak while the engine is running, only after it is shut off for a while, so there may not have been a leak when they looked at it. However, the man feels that the first shop owes him an engine because they didn't find his problem. Would you agree that failure to find a problem makes one liable for that problem? If so, it follows that homicide detectives are guilty of unsolved murders. I guess my opinion is self evident, what's yours?

How about guilt by association? A lady was recently incensed because her turn signal flasher failed and had to be replaced right after her power window was repaired in her door. The two problems are in no way related, but the technicians had been working on the car, so they must have caused the new problem. This is an amazingly common opinion. It's known as "being married" to a car. Once you raise the hood, you are responsible for every failure from flat tires to paint scratches for the foreseeable future. This is true, however, for only certain personalities, such as people who quiz the servers about what "comes with" their meal, and then try to change to more expensive sides for free, or take a handful of condiments when they leave, or stay in a nice hotel room, and then claim to have seen bugs or mice, to get the room "comped." You have to hope they don't slip and fall on the way out because you know they have their lawyer on speed dial.

Can you guess my opinion of these people? What's yours?

Speaking of guilt by association, this reminds me of Bubba Joe. He was arrested because revenuers found a still on his property.

"I wasn't using it," he said.

"You're guilty of moon shining if you have the equipment," they said.

"Well, I guess you better arrest me for rape also," he said.

"Why, have you raped someone?"

"No, but I've got the equipment."



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