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The Mechanical Man

My father the mechanical engineer… A life of cars and greasy fingers

By Rich BurtonPublished 9 months ago 4 min read

My Father. As I affectionately like to call him. He is a man full of knowledge and one of the least awkward engineers I know. Some of the things he taught me were math, how to change my oil, and to think through things because something might have a different solution then the normal way of doings things.

A mechanical engineer who was also a car mechanic. He worked for Toyota and just recently retired. Him and my mom moved to be closer to me and I am so grateful because they have helped us out in so many ways. But growing up with my dad he was a funny guy by nature, but an introverted one where every guy who approached me said, “You’re dad scares me.” He’s got a scary resting face, but once you get to know the man he’s a keeper and a great reliable friend.

He was an affectionate dad, but an introverted one. He loved spending most of us his time with my brothers in the garage working on a car project or fixing the house. He was a handy man through and through. He always had smudgy hands full of grease getting cleaned by a blue paper towel and an idea about how to get something working again. I was at the tail end of the family, but he always made sure I was going to be okay and taught me great things growing up, even though I was so stubborn.

Three life lessons I have been taught by my Father that will live in my mind forever:

1. When I was learning how to drive, we went into a nearby parking lot and he was teaching me the ins and outs of how and when to brake, where to look, how to change my mirrors, what all the buttons mean, etc. The real life lesson he taught me was about the road and the people who drive in it. He said, “Everyone on the road is an idiot and so are you, so make sure you are always aware of what everyone and yourself is doing.” This message, though not fully understood in my youth has made a huge impact in my driving life today. We are all just idiots on the road. We just have to figure out how to not be the biggest idiot that day and make sure we stay safe, be aware of the other people around us and make sure we know what we are doing.

2. When I was in my college days, I dated a ton of guys and some were not so good for me. It was my decision to date those guys because I was a novice in the dating world so I wanted to experience every kind of guy out there. Yes, shallow, but like I said I was young and stupid. So my brothers found out who I was dating and gave me an intervention. Which is hilarious because my brothers are 6 years older than me and never gave a crap about me a day in their lives. Perfect timing for brotherly love, huh? But anyway, my dad called and he gave me some really good advice for finding someone I should really put my time into loving. (Mind you, I was not in the market for a husband and being raised in a religious home that’s all my family thought about when people dated). But his advice still rang true when I was actually looking for a husband. His advice was to look for someone who pushed me creatively and was someone who pushed me into doing good things for myself, for the relationship, and for the future family we would create. I am now married and have two kids of my own, and I still think about that advice and how that has shaped my ideals in being a better spouse and mother.

3. Another car lesson. This is more of a practical lesson than advice, but I will never get convinced by a jiffy lube employee or one similar again. MY dad taught me how to check all my car’s fluids, how to change the oil, change and check the filters, and always listen to the car when it makes a noise you’ve never heard before. So I do all my main car checks and changes. Unless it’s something major then I let the real expert handle it (dad). But, when I was pregnant, I could not for the life of me get under the car and change the oil so I had to take it and get it changed. The employees came to me and started to sell me their, “You need to change your filters they’re so dirty.” And other useless information like that. I would always say, “Yea that’s fine.” But I would really want to say “I know more than you...” Like the famous Ron Swanson. But with the knowledge my dad gave me I know what needs to be done. I will not be swindled by car salesmen who are just here to fix my car.

I love my dad with all my heart. We’ve always got along in the humor department and correct each other’s grammar, but the three lessons above are some real things that I will now share with my kids. In the dad joke department he could use a little work, but the dryness of his wit is music to my ears!


About the Creator

Rich Burton

I’m a work from home mom with 2 crazy kids. I write for fun with the hopes of finishing my unfinished book!

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