Challenge Accepted: Changing a Flat in a Suit and Tie


Today I write to you all from the depths of the monochromatic, lifeless pit of despair known as the AutoCare department of your local Wal-mart. Here, sandwiched between two rather disheveled and unpleasant-looking patrons undoubtedly visiting for similar misfortune, I find myself wondering if the lump below me in the HIV-ridden cushion on which I’m stationed actually just moved or if it was merely the feeling one gets before they’re about to get royally screwed in the pocket book.

But lest you find your clicker finger inching closer to your Facebook favorites link in an effort to avoid what has certainly begun as an introductory deposition for Pessimism 101, let me assure you that this post has a triumphant conclusion. As you might have guessed, I had a flat tire this morning. And should you not feel an overwhelming sense of pity by now, let me articulate that it was not just any flat tire, but a complete blowout on a major interstate during morning rush hour on my way to give my school’s yearly standardized test…..while it was raining…..and hailing……and my wife was giving birth to twins…..just feel sorry for me, alright!?!

But despite it all, my friends, a Man Achievement was unlocked.  Namely, “Changing a Flat in a Suit and Tie.”  And while it ashamedly took me more minutes of copious cursing and panicking than I’d care to admit, the end result was a timely arrival at my place of work and a resiliently spotless set of duds.  How’d I do it?  Well if you’re looking for a tutorial on how to actually Change a Flat, you’ve got the wrong gent—it took every cell of my pre-8am brain to conjure up every automotive lesson my father ever taught me to remember the process. (Here's the right gent though) No, no, THIS particular post is how a few lucky happenings and a few dapper style trends saved me from a disastrous morning malfunction.

1. Don’t Despair….Keep a Spare!
My first inclination when I pulled over and walked around the front of my car only to be met by a mangled rubber heap was to drop to my knees and commit the ancient samurai practice of Seppuku.  Then I remembered I was wearing my nice dress slacks.  Unfortunately, the art of changing a tire involves some pretty down-and-dirty business which can leave you with the ungodly decision of having to sacrifice a good pair of pants to the goddess of the highway shoulder.  Lucky for me, I happened to be wearing a handkerchief as a pocket square today (like the extremely dapper one pictured right)--one that is easily washable and only cost me a little over $1.  Just unfold it on the ground where you're taking a knee and crank away at your jack.  However, if you happen to be sporting a silk pocket square that day, a spare towel in the trunk can work wonders here too.

2. Caution Slippery When Wet
The next thing that promised to be the most diabolically opposed to my arriving at work with any remaining swagger was my breakover bar. As I wasn't lying earlier when I said it was raining, everything Mother Nature had in her Mary Poppins purse was being tossed at my morning commute, making it all quite slippery.  It only took three times of nearly knocking myself out cold when the breakover bar slipped out of my hand that I finally decided I had to do something--and that something was my jean jacket.  Layered snugly under my blazer as a little added protection against the elements this morning (and because it's one of my favorite recent layering trends), it made the perfect weapon against the slick surface of death and gave me a little added leverage to pop off those lugs.  Again....a spare towel in the trunk would have probably worked wonders here but the jacket washes easily enough.

3. What Seems To Be The Trouble, Officer? 
Undividedly fixated upon my problem at hand, I barely noticed the fact that rush hour traffic in the Metroplex often gets a bit squirly.  So when a kind officer of the law pulled up behind me and informed me he was there merely to ensure I "didn't get hit," I resisted the urge to shield my face and scream, "Don't look at me, I'm hideous...ly bad at being a man's man!" and simply waved and gave a thumbs up.  Remember to watch out for crazies on the road around you.  Ashamedly I forgot in all the turmoil to turn even my hazards on.  When in doubt, it's always best to do something to avoid giving another maniac driver a flat tire after they run over your somewhat surprised-looking corpse. Perhaps you could even use a spare towel in your trunk to act as a distress flag.

So I guess the moral of the story here is keep a towel in your trunk as it seems it would've solved all of my problems and expedited the situation substantially.  Above all though, gentleman, keep your cool.  Ditch the tie, roll up your sleeves and get to business saving the day.  And if you can do all that with a cool head, you get the satisfaction of strolling into your job a few minutes late, absolutely filthy, and down-right prouder than ever that your a man that gets things done and looks blasted exceptional doing it.

But seriously....towel. In the trunk. Do it.

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