I’ve never been mechanically inclined. I’ve tinkered a bit. Back in high school, a more knowledgable buddy showed me how to tweak the four-barrel Quadrajet carburetor sitting atop the 400 small block in my old Chevy pickup. I put headers on that truck and did a few other minor upgrades and repairs, but minor work was the extent of my knowledge and talents.
Those fellows who could fix almost anything — who could tell you what was wrong just by listening to the exhaust notes, who could tear down an engine and build it back even stronger — amazed me. Their skills seemed to be some sort of dark magic or perhaps some connection to the machines that I could not understand.
Did they have a little 10W-30 pulsing through their veins? Did a swig or two of 93 octane give them the edge?
Did I really think those thoughts?
I had a rather large imagination that often ran buck wild, twisting down so many trails that I sometimes forgot where I started. We often tell ourselves marvelous, delusional stories to make the uncomfortable less so. It’s a form of cognitive dissonance, and it made me feel better about myself as a fairly smart kid (I thought) who got his tail kicked repeatedly by that mechanic stuff.
By the way, mechanic work still kicks my tail. And I still wonder how the masters do it.
That imagination and a long-held awe for the geniuses who can breathe life into a dead motor were components of the inspiration for this month’s cover story. When you throw in an appreciation for Mary Shelley’s work, a summer road trip to the edge of civilization in a car of questionable dependability, and an incredible artist offering plenty of guidance for characters and setting, the road to Gearhead’s creation was smooth paved.
But this October issue is more than just Gearhead. We also have an interview with that incredible artist who helped bring Gearhead to life along with a heartwarming story about women doing good for other women, helping to make the best of a tough situation in an unexpected way.
Throw in the regular columns with subjects ranging from healthcare growing in your yard, to the connection of water tables and our sense of place, to the funniest crypto-critter you’ve never heard of, to what could be the best cheeseburger in the River Valley, and you’ve got an issue ready for some front-porch reads in the cool October air.