We’ve been getting a lot of e-mails lately. Apparently someone (I have no idea who…) has been carrying on about that strange sub-set of the Human genus called “Gearheads.” (I may have some of the taxonomic details a bit wrong. Not my fault if I slept through most of Biology class in high school, which started way too early, if you ask me. For some reason they didn’t….) The previous installment suggested that perhaps gearheads were so obsessed with all things automotive, that certain priorities could get obscured. Well, we know that’s not entirely accurate, as Righteous Rides itself would not have been founded without the efforts of some so-called “Godly Gearheads.” What, prithee, you might ask, is a “Godly Gearhead?” Fret not. I shall endeavor to enlighten thee…and I promise to do so without further sounding like I belong on a can of oatmeal.
First off, I really can’t speak too much toward the “Godly” half of the equation. We are commanded to be careful how we judge people, because the same standard will be applied to us, or we’ll get whacked in the eye with a large piece of lumber…something like that. (Sunday school also tended to start way too early…) No, for deep spiritual matters, it’s probably best if you talk with your pastor about that sort of thing. Hopefully he didn’t sleep through too many classes at seminary.
We’ll stick to helping poor souls wrestle with the “Gearhead” side of things … more specifically: “Are I one?” Here’s a short, helpful list of a few telltale signs that you might have been inflicted with what modern medicine now refers to as Gearhead Acclimation Syndrome… or GAS. It’s a mostly non-fatal (although frequently expensive and occasionally hilarious) condition in which one finds oneself with a slightly maniacal devotion toward motor vehicles. Diagnosis can be somewhat tricky, so perhaps best left to experts. And we don’t really recommend approaching family, friends, or co-workers, and asking “Do you think I have GAS?”
You May Be a Gearhead
But self-discovery is the first step on the road to recovery. So, here’s a list of possible symptoms. If any of these sounds disturbingly familiar, I’m sure there’s a Gearhead support group forming near you:
You have mixed feelings about delivering a Righteous Rides van to some tired, deserving missionaries at the airport. The satisfaction that comes with helping in the Lord’s work is doing battle with the deep horror of being seen in public driving something with more than two doors and not a single racing stripe.
You’ve had the urge, during a Sunday evening favorite hymn call-out session, to ask the pianist to play “Li’l Deuce Coupe.” (Don’t try it. Trust me. You’ll get some “looks.”)
They don’t let you near the church sign anymore since you keep adding the line “And No Bow-Ties” below the sermon title. (Points if you understand that’s neither a dress code nor a fashion tip…)
Speaking of fashion, you refuse to believe that a clutch could also be a type of purse.
You think the 11th commandment was: “Thou Shalt Chrome It.”
At daycare, you lost the pink to your first tricycle. But you are pretty sure that the other kid cheated.
Your church has a bus ministry, and you’re frustrated that the JC Whitney catalogue doesn’t have many listings for “Bluebird.” (Points if you actually know what the JC Whitney catalogue is…and what a “Bluebird.” Is.)
Your church has a bus ministry, and your first suggestion was to put on a set of redlines.
Your church has a bus ministry, but you’re not allowed anywhere near it for some mysterious thing called “insurance purposes.” (or at least that’s what the office staff claims…)
You lost the pink to the church bus. But you are pretty sure that the other church cheated.
You got away with naming your daughter “Holley,” but had to lie about having a beloved late aunt who spelled it with an “e.” (Points if you also claimed to have dead uncles named “Cragar,” “Edelbrock,” and “Hurst.” Triple points if you actually got away with naming a kid “Mopar.”)
You’re not 100% sure about the names of all those short, messy people at the breakfast table, (hint: probably not Holley, Edelbrock, or Cragar…) but you’ve got their fingerprints on file just in case somebody’s been touching your wrenches.
You frequently offer the Goth kids in youth group a ride to functions. They come back even paler and now with a sudden desire to shop for pastels…
When you hear the word “Hemi,” you have a Pavlovian response (that would be “drooling like a bulldog outside a bacon factory,” for those of you who also slept through psychology class…).
The leather cover of your Bible smells suspiciously like “Armor-All.”
As a toddler, your first words were “vroom, vroom!” (Points if your first full sentence was “What seems to be the trouble, officer?”)
Grandma won’t ride to church with you anymore since you welded your doors shut just like on “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
You got scowled at by the Deacon Board for “dedicating” the new parking lot with VHT. (If you understand that, you are DEFINITELY a Gearhead…)
When the offering plate is passed, you can’t help but think “hubcap.”
You don’t need a name tag to serve on the welcome committee since you already insisted that your wife embroider a patch with your name on it right above the left breast pocket of your Sunday blazer. (Points if it’s got a smudge of grease on it, or your name is “Bud.”.)
They won’t let you teach Children’s Church anymore after you came up with an “Krass & Bernie” flannel-graph presentation.
You refuse to buy t-shirts with silk-screened logos because they won’t eventually make good buff rags.
You’re not allowed at mission conferences anymore since you asked that nice couple headed to Brazil to bring you back some really “primo” carnauba.
Your favorite Bible passage is Ezekiel, Chapter 10. (Go ahead. Look it up. I’ll wait…)
And Finally… The Point
Anyway, the point to all of this (Yes, I occasionally have one…) is that you might be a Gearhead. Or half of one. Or a quarter Gearhead on your mother’s side (they make you spit in a tube nowadays so you can be tested.) Or maybe you came to the realization that you, in a moment of weakness, married one. (If the first place you always look for him is the garage … you did.) Or perhaps this entire episode completely baffled you, and you plan on sleeping peacefully knowing that you’re safe. Regardless of your pedigree, the issue is what to do with this new-found knowledge.
If I may make a suggestion (and I may, since this is my cotton-pickin’ column…) why not consider lending a helping hand to Righteous Rides? You can turn a few wrenches, detail some vehicles, process title paperwork, whatever it takes to keep the effort moving. You don’t have to crawl around in a pool of motor oil (although you hopefully do understand some of the boys in the shop actually enjoy that…they’re planning on forming a synchronized team for the next Olympics…) Righteous Rides has a fleet of over 130 vans coming in and going out from hubs all over the country, providing reliable transportation to missionaries serving all over the world. It’s a pretty good deal: You get a good feeling knowing you’re doing a bit of the Lord’s work…and It might give you a chance to work off some of that GAS.