I repair a Maytag
Friday, December 26 2003
For some reason my MP3 collection includes a lot of Megadeth, and the more I hear of their music (which has been familiar to me since 1990), the less impressed I am with it. For starters, for all its double bass kickdrum ferocity, dark necro-political imagery (including the band's name) and testosterone-fueled aggressive bluster, it doesn't sound particularly metallic. To my ear, it's about as metallic as Rush, and probably even dorkier. The problem seems to have something to do with the sound of those guitars, which are merely hard rock at their scariest, and Dave Mustaine's relentlessly-posturing vocals (which often sound like an impersonation made of a pissed-off teenager by an adult who should know better) don't really help. It sounds like a comic book rendition of speed metal. It could just be that I'm being unfair; it's hard to make aggressive music that continues to sound aggressive in the face of a continually-pushed enveleope. The key, though, seems to be apparent sincerity. It's Dave Mustaine's affectation that trips him up, just like all the Eddie Vedder wannabes.
This evening I made such a raging fire in the woodstove that the back of the firebox was glowing orange. This made me wonder - why aren't there any substances that glow at room temperature? What does it mean to glow?
After Gretchen came home for the evening, we fried quesadillas on the stove's top surface. Later we lit all the candles in the menorah, since today is the last day of Chaunukah. With all the electrical lights turned off on the floor, the nine burning candles put out more than enough light for two people to comfortably read by, but all we did instead was watch the dancing flames as the slowly ate away the wax. All was peaceful save for the electric dryer in the other room, which was making a repetitive banging sound that couldn't be explained as an errant coin or button.
It was a Maytag dryer, the kind people buy in response to the advertising campaign featuring a lonely Maytag repairman with nothing to do. I opened it up without difficulty (only two screws hold on the front) and quickly determined what the problem was. A screw holding one of the three plastic fins in the rotating laundry drum had somehow backed itself out an entire inch and was now hitting the chassis as it came around with every cycle. All I had to do was tighten it down with a socket wrench. One wonders how many loads of laundry it took for the tha-thump stresses on the drum fin to resolve themselves as the 10-20 counter-clockwise rotations necessary to back that screw out an entire inch. Gretchen suspects that the great bulk of this was accomplished under the previous owners, who had three kids and probably did a laundry every other day. Evidence of the dryer's historic workload wasn't hard to find. When I pulled the machine forward to see how it was held together, I came upon numerous artifacts concealed amongst the windrows of grey lint: a golden hoop ear ring, a blue poker chip, three leaves of artificial foliage, a plastic bead, a nasty old baby sock, and 22 cents. The 22 cents came in the form of a 1969 dime, a 2000 dime, a 1971 penny, and a 1980 penny.
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