(Time once again for “Dear Witbones -- Ask A Humorist!” my agony uncle advice column for the laughlorn. This month: New Hampshire cars and winter weather)
This may be outside your area of expertise, but I either have a car problem or a terrain problem. I live at the bottom of a steep hill in the New Hampshire North Country, and whenever I accelerate rapidly, my car hesitates, almost like it’s going to stall, then I hear a sound which I can only describe as a “kah-tick-bang-whoosh.” This repeats a few times, then the car takes off like I was shot out of a cannon. What gives? Signed: JUICED UP IN JACKSON
You didn’t mention your automobile’s year, make & model, but this is a common problem with any car made between 1902 and 2014, and any rural NH car salesman will tell you that every car is supposed to go “kah-tick-bang-whoosh.”
We might first examine why you’re finding it necessary to “accelerate rapidly.” Unless you’re robbing banks, I don’t understand your need for speed off the line. It greatly reduces gas mileage and increases your need to decelerate rapidly, depending on the weather, local police whereabouts, and proximity of the moose.
And, you’re right about my lack of mechanical prowess. I am familiar with a “kah-tick-bang-whooshy” sound when I first get up in the morning, but I’m seeing a doctor for it.
I do know that combustion engines here best start and run smoothly by integrating the right amounts of gasoline, oil, prayer, cursing and pounding the steering wheel.
And, try to remember that there are people in this world who make their livings being shot out of cannons. You might consider it.
The days are rapidly getting shorter and colder, and I’ve thought of leaving New Hampshire and going to Florida this winter but I’m afraid of manatees. How can I last until spring? Signed: HUNKERED DOWN IN HAVERHILL
I don’t want to alarm you, and try not to think about this, but manatees have been spotted as far north as Cape Cod. This means that if one of them turned left into Connecticut and followed the river, with a portage or two it could eventually make its way into Haverhill, NH, coming ashore at Bedell Bridge State Park, and with the help of a sympathetic motorist, flap-beat a path to your house.
If you hear a heavy thudding sound on your porch, I wouldn’t answer the door.
Meanwhile, try a sun lamp, and take comfort in the fact that manatees don’t do well on ice.
I know it’s not politically correct and I feel guilty about saying it, but with another New Hampshire winter upon us, I’m looking forward to global warming. A friend says that I don’t know the difference between climate and weather. I say they’re the same thing. Am I wrong? Signed: DEFROSTING IN DALTON
Here’s a simple test: Have you ever asked anyone with a hangover if they’re feeling “under the climate”?
I see that you’re finding it hard to reconcile the difference, especially when The Farmer’s Almanac says that we’re in for a record-setting cold winter, but you must try to apply the same “you can’t get there from here” logic that we’re so fond of here. Or there, if you can make it.
Thus, if you’re guilt-struck because you find the notion of retreating glaciers, rising oceans, ozone depletion and species extinction preferable to a couple extra weeks of scraping your windshield, perhaps you have a problem with what psychiatrists like to call “sanity.”
I suggest you bundle up and stop reading advice columns from humorists.
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Copyright 2014 by B. Elwin Sherman. All rights reserved. Questions for his agony uncle “WITBONES - Ask A Humorist!" column may be submitted to: WITBONES, c/o B. Elwin Sherman, P.O. Box 300, Bethlehem, NH, 03574. Or, you may e-mail Elwin via his Witbones.com blog.