There is a “key” on the flywheel of my lawnmower.
I don’t know why I put it in quotation marks….it’s called a key….I didn’t need the quotation marks.
Anyway, this key is designed to keep everything in alignment.
If you didn’t know that it was there…you’d never know that it was there.
It’s hidden….if you don’t know where to look.
Sometimes, if you hit a rock while you’re mowing….or hit a stump….or even a bicycle….you can shear that key and things start to get interesting.
What happens when you lose your key is that the flywheel starts to move on the shaft a little and it gets a little harder to start the mower the next time you want to use it.
It gets a little harder to start it and it runs a little less effectively.
It doesn’t run all that well when the alignment is out of whack.
So now you have a flywheel that’s turning “free” on the shaft….and the only thing that holds it in place is the nut that keeps the flywheel on.
You really can’t torque that nut tight enough to really keep things from getting wonky when you hit a stump.
What screws you up more than anything while all this is going on is that the bad changes sometimes don’t happen all at once.
You can pull that cord a bunch of times and sometimes the mower will still start and run.
It won’t run like it used to….but it’s an old mower….it’s getting worn out….it’s seen its day.
Its power was in the past.
It’s the “still running” part that screws you up.
That mower will occasionally start if you sweat at the end of the string long enough….and then it will run badly for as long as you need it to mow the lawn one more time….but you know that something’s not right.
When something breaks completely, you know that it’s time to repair or replace….but when you limp along with something wrong…but you still “kind of function”….it’s hard to get the gumption train going and correct the problem.
So…with my mower, when it got to the point that taking the carburetor off and cleaning it….changing the plug….putting fresh gas in the tank….and pulling, pulling, pulling on the cord….I checked the key and….
it was gone…..and I was a quarter turn away from where I was supposed to be.
There is no way in Hades that my mower would run right with that much of a bad turn in the works.
I replaced the key….got the alignment right….and now the mower runs like it did when I first got it….before the first stump was ever hit….before that bad rock left me cursing in the empty field.
That mower that I would have scrapped when I couldn’t get it to run starts with the first pull now.
It’s a simple thing to fix a lawnmower if you know how.
All this stuff is really simple if “you just know how”.
I think that I can live with “almost right” forever.
That’s a problem that’s harder to figure out than a broken lawnmower.
“Drift” David Wilcox
This is a song from David Wilcox’s new album “Blaze”….