Friday, November 12, 2010

The Human Engine, When did you last change your oil?

I had an old 1984 Buick LeSabre once upon a time and that car looked like hell when I was through with it, there were dents, broken windows and it had about 200k miles on it, I inherited the car from my mother when she moved out of state when I was about 22 years old. I drove that car for more than a year with about a quart of oil in it right up until the time that I sold it to the scrap yard it never quit on me, it ran in lieu of the treatment that it was getting even if it knocked and dieseled when I tried to turn it off. There was damage to that engine and transmission but it held together just long enough for me to save up and buy myself a 1986 RX7 (yes I fit into an RX7 so zip it!) so it did its job and I didn't have to take care of it one bit in the time that I owned it but it didn't last as long as it could have. If we take care of our cars they will last a long time, sometimes when we beat the shit out of them they keep on going but at some point something will break, it has to because it was not designed to work with extreme abuse and some are better than others at taking the abuse while still performing even if at a lesser standard than it was meant to.

That RX7 was WELL taken care of when I bought it, the thing ran like a top and that rotory motor hummed perfectly, I changed the oil regularly, washed and waxed it weekly and drove it everywhere. The fella that I bought the car off of had owned it since new and it had sixty some odd thousand miles on it when I purchased it and became the second owner, this car was my baby...for the six months. In my younger days lets just say that I was known to put after market parts into cars and proceed to beat the living hell out of them, this was starting to become the fate of that once pristine RX7. The car was taken care of all of its life until it met me and ultimately died at my hands and was sold off as a parts car the very next summer, yes I said parts car, so this car had a different life than that LeSabre but did share the same fate. Sometimes when things get taken care of properly they can still end in disaster because of all kinds of different problems or stupid decisions.

Engines work as they should when taken care of properly, change the oil regularly, tune ups help to keep things working and driving the way the car was meant to be driven will most times mean a reliable car for many years. When a car is not taken care of it may last for a while but eventually all of the parts that are wearing down every time it gets driven will fail and at that point the car is shot, we may be able to limp it back and fourth to work while it sputters and chugs along like that LeSabre did but it will be a short lived ride. I recently have been reflecting on some things that were in my life not too long ago and what I may have been doing to my body in the process of those things and the car analogy came to me, at 534 pounds I was beating the shit out of my body just like I did that LeSabre. My heart, my lungs, my bones and muscles, all of my ligaments along with every part of my mental was getting the shit beat out of it on a daily basis just because I weighed more than a quarter ton and was essentially running on a quart of oil and broken windows, I was fucking myself and couldn't see it.

Something was going to fail catastrophically in short order if I hadn't changed the oil when I did, but does it mean that because there are fresh plugs and oil in the engine that it will now be a 200k mile engine? this I am unsure of. Like a car that was beat to hell and then changed owners where the new guy takes care of the car sure it will last longer now because its being taken care of but are there stressed bolts internally that will ultimately make the engine fail? or will that odometer reach 250k and beyond? perhaps I worry about things that should not be as close to the surface as they are, perhaps not. As a once 500 plus pound guy I think that there are worries that are valid and should be monitored and all at the same time I know that the oil is being changed regularly now and the engine is being run properly so it should last a good long while more with this maintenance routine.

We need to take care of our bodies as if they are the most precious thing that we own because they are, we cannot call the scrap yard up and have them tow away the shell of a Lesabre because a shiny new RX7 was bought, we get one go around and that's it and the scrap yard that we end up in has a 6 foot deep hole in it. These days I am a machine, I eat properly, I exercise daily and I live as clean as I possibly can the days of beating the shit out of my cars is in the past and the days of me beating the shit out of my body are over, that is until I get into the gym or onto my bike but that is another story.

You gonna end up in the scrap yard? or pull that oil and wax out and show a little love to yourself? I know which one I choose.

As Ever


  1. I'm working on it, boss...working on it. Good analogy.

  2. just found your blog. Im stuck up at work with nothing to do. I weigh 350 and gaining. I just joined weight watchers but im still learning their program.Its kinda scary for me. I have never been this heavy before. I was always able to lose extra weight fast but not in the last few years weight keeps coming back along with my poor eatting habits. I guess I deal with depressions some as well. Have good hopes for this week want to get in some exercise and eat lots of apples. I have been making apple salad with greek yougurt and its great once it gets cold.

  3. Love the post- I'm treating myself like the GTO I should be ;)