Over the Hill

Excuse me, but what if I only need the one?

People who sell stuff to me have got my number, and that number is two.

Let me explain.

A week ago, a little red line appeared on the dashboard of our ‘93 Honda. It glowed below the display that warns us when a door isn’t fully closed. It also indicates which door. I thought the red line meant the station wagon’s rear door wasn’t closed.

I got out and looked. It seemed closed. I opened it and slammed it, but the little red line on the dashboard still glowed.

Then I figured I should probably read the little words printed on the red line. They said “Rear Brake Lamp.”

One must be burned out. But the car has two other brake lights so I wasn’t worried. As the days passed, however, that little glowing red line kept nagging me.

It made we worry about getting a ticket. It made me worry about the guys who drive those huge pickups and SUVs. They can probably only see the roof of our little car. They might not see the lower brake lights. If I suddenly stopped, they’d crush me.

I had to fix it. I parked the car and wedged the brake pedal down with a piece of two-by-four. The brake light that didn’t work was at the top of the rear window. I copied the bulb numbers from the owner’s manual, but I couldn’t find the bulb at the nearby big-box store.

So I went to the nearby auto parts store and, with a clerk’s help, found the bulb. But I shouldn’t say “bulb.” I should say “bulbs” because they don’t sell just one.

Almost all the automotive bulbs were sold in two-packs, bubble-wrapped in cardboard. It cost $9.11. The big box store also sells its automotive bulbs in two-packs.

“Well, what’s wrong with that?” you may ask. Won’t I someday need to replace another brake light or turn-signal?

Sure I will, but I won’t remember where I stashed the spare. I can never find stored spare parts when I need them. I’ll have to buy another two-pack.

Recently, my garage door wouldn’t close. Its remote control needed a new battery. I thought I had a spare one, but I didn’t have time to search. I had to buy a new one.

Actually I had to buy a two-pack. The second battery now sits on my desk still on the card and under the cut bubble-wrap. I’ll need it someday. The battery in the other remote control we keep in the other car will eventually die. But I’m sure that by then, the spare will have disappeared, and I’ll have to buy another two-pack.

The companies who sell me two-packs know what they’re doing—they’re doubling their business.

Reach Phil Dirkx at phild2008@sbcglobal.net or 238-2372.