Category Archives: Old Gumbo Jones

Lost Tools

Old Gumbo Jones wove his way through the garage, stepping carefully to avoid power cords, fiberglass body parts, and hardware that had fallen from one of his many on-going projects. He was looking for the 4mm T-handle Allen key. “I had it in my hand 3 minutes ago. How could it disappear so completely? I mean, it’s just gone. Vanished into thin air.” His eyes lit up. “There’s that damn Phillips head screwdriver!” He pulled it from under a bungee cord where he had tucked it next to a Barbie doll on the rack of the Oilhead. It dawned on him that an old nemesis was back with him. Conventional wisdom saw it as absent-mindedness. But it was something else. His mind was always present, but it was present in different dimensions at different times. He knew that he had set the 4mm down in a different dimension which would reveal itself in time. That knowledge allayed his anxiety, but it did nothing for the fillister head screw that needed to go up under the side panel. He edged his way back to the tool chest to find another set of Allen wrenches. He reached out to the side work bench to balance through a tight spot, and there, behind a plastic tub full of odd bits from the table job – or was it the Airhead fairing job or the rug shampoo machine job or the timing belt job, he saw the old O2 sensor coiled up like a snake. He lifted it to study the carbon-coated sensor, the kinked wires and the corroded connector. “Where should I put this?” A small skirmish broke out in the middle of his mind. The poverty rider saves everything, because you never know. But here he was, trapped in a jumble of tables and benches littered with old parts and new projects. He lifted the O2 sensor and flung it. It landed in the galvanized trash barrel with a satisfying thunk. He lay the Phillips down at the work bench. A smile filled his eyes. “There you are!” he held the T-handle wrench up like the Holy Grail and admired it. He remembered that he has set it there in a hurry on the way to the restroom. The urgent bladder always summons the old guy into a dimension that is walled off from anything else that seems important. It is the balloon payment that comes after coffee. Old Gumbo Jones stepped out into the April sun. He looked at the 4mm T-handle socket and wondered, “Now, what was I going to do with this?”