Mechanics Named Ken: A Geographic Comparison

If you meet a mechanic named Ken in New York, he will be wider than he is tall and have barbecue stains on his torn Labatt Blue t-shirt. He will have a scar above his left eye from that time in high school when he drunkenly tried to ride his bicycle out the back of a moving pickup truck. Eye contact will never last longer than two seconds, measured down to the millisecond, in an attempt to hide the absence of a functional brain. He will assume every dog is a female dog and call it ‘sweetie’. He will also address every female he encounters as ‘sweetie’. If you have a leak below your sink, he will replace the toilet. If you have an electrical problem, he will replace the toilet. If you have a broken toilet, he will become giddy and then replace the toilet. If he drops a screw down a vent his chubby arms will get stuck in a fashion similar to dealing with a near empty Pringles can. After fifteen minutes of work, he will say he is running to the store for parts, and not return until two days later.

If you meet a mechanic named Ken in Indiana, he will slide out of his Ford F350 and light a cigarette with his zippo lighter in one fluid motion. He will shake your hand and his sausage fingers will turn your tiny bones to dust. Wearing a faded pocket front t-shirt and paint-covered jeans, he won’t break eye contact unless you break it first. He will speak out of the corner of his mouth with a smirk, where the cigarette will dangle but never fall. If he says he’s going to do something, he will do it correctly the first time, and figure out a way to save you money and bill as much as possible to AAA. After the job is complete, he will shoot the shit about the failing government (‘that black mother fucker’), the war (his son served twice, ‘for what?’) and how he has all of his wells hidden with rocks so no one can poison his family. Even his mild racism will be passive and endearing. He has said ‘sumbitch’ so many times, he has since forgotten the phrase was originally four separate words. His twelve-year-old girl owns her own gun and ‘she knows how to use it’. If someone comes through his front door unannounced, he’s not afraid to ‘blast ‘em back out’. He smokes his cigarettes in three drags and will go through half a pack during the conversation. When he drives away, you will feel like a better man and consider joining the NRA.

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