Dave Paxton

I don’t want to be flippant about the Coronavirus, but gee whiz, if you listen to MSNBC or any of the nightly news programs, even Fox News, you’d think we are in the Dark Ages and the plague is wasting the world.

Folks, we have lived through swine flu, SARS, bird flu and MRSA, just in the last 10 or 15 years. We have conquered polio, red measles, chicken pox and are on the cusp of taking down any number of cancers. We can do this.

Nursing homes are going into lockdown and I totally get that, because those are the people most affected by the virus. It surprises me, however, that we don’t see more nursing homes locking down each winter with the outbreak of Influenza B. Likely it’s because we do have a vaccine that works most of the time. A lock down of nursing homes may keep people healthy physically, but you’ve got to wonder what the lack of human contact and no more visits from family might do.

Still, deaths attributed to Influenza B (even with vaccines) dwarfs what we’ve seen so far with Coronavirus. Not that I want anyone to set their hair on fire over Influenza B.

I’m pretty sure I know what the next outrage will be. Hand chaffing. We will have washed our hands so many times, the rubbed red soreness will cause thousands of lawsuits nationwide against soap makers.

I mean I get the whole antiseptic wipes and all, but whatever happened to the wisdom of the ages that suggested a kid who ate dirt was healthier because he had gained a measure of disease resistance?

I’m thankful for one thing. Since I never go anywhere, anyway, I really don’t have to worry about contracting Coronavirus from huge crowds or people blowing snot and coughing in foreign countries.

I had a good friend, a tight-fisted Norwegian, who was beaming because he got a pair of work boots restitched by one of only 15 cobblers left in Iowa. It only cost me three bucks, he beamed.

“That’s why there’s only 15 cobblers in Iowa left,” I said.

I will tackle most anything, particularly if I have a natural curiosity about it and don’t have an irrational fear. I have an irrational fear concerning garage doors and furnaces. I don’t touch either. I also don’t like small engine repair, although I burned up the engine on my log splitter, found a replacement and got it running again. That was more parts hanging as opposed to actual repair.

When it comes to lawn mowers, snow blowers, ATVs and such, I’d rather pay the price to get them fixed by someone who knows what they’re doing. And I have made the same argument over the money you shell out fixing a small engine. Frankly, it’s not enough. Which is why we don’t have an over abundance of lawn mower repairmen.

My first real attempt at small engine repair was when I was about 14 and the Ford lawn tractor I was driving stopped. With limited knowledge, I checked everything I could think of and then started tearing it apart in the grass near the well platform next to my granddad’s farmhouse. It never occurred to me to put various nuts and bolts into labeled sacks or even a coffee can.

My dad came in from whatever he was doing, looked at the well platform covered with bolts and whatever engine parts I could remove and asked me what I was doing to his lawn tractor.

“Trying to get it started,” I said. “It quit just like that.”

“Did you happen to check the gas tank?” he asked and then he trudged on to the house for an iced tea.

Since that time, I’ve never failed to check the gas tank in anything and I think I still have a can with the nuts and washers that somehow I didn’t need reassembling the Ford lawn tractor, which I later acquired from my dad and ultimately turned into a very slow moving go-cart.

My latest adventure into tearing stuff apart was the demolition of an old travel trailer my son and I retrofitted to sit on the creek bank of our farm when pheasants were so plentiful we needed a spot to hang out. We spray painted “Paxton Hunting Shack” on the side to either ward off intruders or actually invite them in if we weren’t there, which was most of the time.

The trailer came back to me after we sold the farm and was basically rotting in my pristine timber, so I tore it apart. What was left after all the metal, flimsy plywood and insulation was torn out and piled high was a really usable two-wheel chassis. So I started building a trailer, using the chassis and 4 x 8 sheets of treated 3/4” plywood. I got to the point of needing to cover the wheels so as to protect whatever junk I might eventually haul with it from mud and crud coming up off the wheels, or poking holes in the tires from junk I might be hauling.

I thought of having my son fabricate some nice curved metal fenders to bolt onto the wood, but instead decided to build wooden fenders. It wasn’t all that hard to build but the finished product looks a whole lot like the ironclad Civil War ship, “The Merrimack” times two. I may swallow my pride and have those metal fenders built by my son so as not to invite criticism and solicit unwanted advice from people who own real trailers.

I watched video of Joe Biden’s latest dust up with your average Michigan Joe Lunch Bucket, who had the audacity to challenge Biden on his views of Second Amendment rights. Frankly, it was embarrassing to see the doddering, prickly Biden curse the man out and talk about his “AR-14” rifle. He also stated bald-faced lies about forcefully taking assault weapons out of people’s homes.

I’m pretty sure he doesn’t remember from place to place on the campaign trail what he has or hasn’t said.

Before he becomes the Democrat’s nominee for president, somebody in the party with some sense needs to give the guy a cognitive awareness test, otherwise if he is elected, he’ll be propped up in the corner of the White House somewhere, stuttering about and cursing out the help.

Bernie Sanders is wrong about virtually everything he says, but at least you’re confident he knows what day it is and what state he is campaigning in.

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