Spreading The Dirt     
By Dick Cory

It looked like a real bargain. Only needed a pull rope and a tire. A lawn mower for $5, I couldn’t resist. I had other non-running lawn mowers with starter ropes and spare part wheels. When compared to a new machine at $210, this was a real steal. Wrong, the whole flywheel mechanism needed replacing, and the carburetor required rebuilding. I got it to fire up once, and then sputter to a stop. Paying to have it repaired at a small engine shop would have cost more than a new mower. I ended the project by recycling the heap with an expletive groan. Would I ever learn? Probably not; I’ve been bilked before.

Purchasing used cars has been a passion of mine for more years than I can remember. Beware of As Is vehicles unless you have the diagnostic know how, time, energy, resources, and desire which doesn’t waiver. Chances are the previous owner has weighed these options, and decided on the sale. One must consider your skill and temperament. I’m not a mechanic nor loaded with money or gifted with ample patience to dedicate to the needs of the restoration. After attending a car auction at Hot August Nights in Reno, I’ve decided it is better to pay for someone else’s investment of time and money. There just isn’t the profit except in the recreation of the hobby.

All of these decisions should be made before the check is signed. “Fixer uppers” are plentiful, and a “pass” may be the wisest choice.

Sometimes I have been “snookered” by the competition to purchase the “prize” before it gets away. I once bought a 1967 Cadillac Deville just to beat out an equal bidder. It was a fine car, but just too big to fit into a parking space and expensive to operate. I sold the “jewel” at a slight loss after six months of luxurious driving.

Are marital relationships any different? The vow of “for better or worse” sounds ominous as it foretells the future; it’s a crapshoot at best with 50% of today’s nuptials in this country ending in divorce. Taking a spouse for what “they was” may be different than what “they is”. Couples may not adjust to changes over time. Molding a partner into something they don’t want to become often ends in failure. As with cars, spouses must anticipate changes in health and interests with maturity. Maybe an “As is and Gonn’a be” contract needs to accompany the wedding license and vows.

Listening to the engine run, kicking the tires, looking for leaks, checking the exterior and upholstery, and smelling the exhaust are good test to apply to used cars. Should not the same attention be given to prospective mates? Buyer’s remorse may follow not “looking a gift horse in the mouth”.

Remarriage may offer new beginnings, if the baggage isn’t too heavy. Certainly the experience gained by former relationships should help avoid previous mistakes. Such agreements as “Never go to bed mad” promote successful marriages. Bargains can be discussed, accepted, and confirmed to help smooth the preparations for marriage.

Knowing the history of your “As Is” and yourself are essential before making commitment to an investment. Are you flexible to change, tolerant of mistakes, and willing to commit energy to solutions are important parameters. If the answers to any of these questions come up “No”, then best you leave it “As Is”.

Dick Cory, a resident of Chico, CA, has written three books, Six Boys And A Bag Of Dirt, After The Dust Settles, and Sweepings from Under the Rug. He can be contacted at ubangarang@sbcglobal.net.
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