The Cameron Column #60
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      From the I AM NOT ALONE department: Joe Lavin publishes a humor column very similar to the Cameron Column in that it is of essay length and uses some of the same words that I do. He's a pretty funny guy. If you're interested, visit his web site at

      During the final phases of the Second World War, the Axis powers, in a desperate and evil attempt to demoralize the citizens of the United States of America, created a monstrous snow blower that eventually wound up in my garage.

      This snow blower weighs more than the gross national product and is in my garage primarily because I can't get it out. Well, that isn't entirely accurate: if I'm willing to sprout hernias all over my body, I can wrestle the stupid thing to the end of the driveway, but then what? I mean, the garbage truck isn't going to come haul it away-it could EAT the garbage truck.

      The blower (my children affectionately call it "Satan") further exasperates my efforts to dispose of it by actually functioning, after a fashion. The starter is a frayed rope with a T-shaped handle on the end. Yanking repeatedly on this rope will, of course, accomplish nothing, except that in the four years since I've owned this monster my right arm has been stretched to the point where I can pull up my socks without bending over. Only by spraying some sort of horrendously flammable liquid directly into the fanged mouth of the fiendish carburetor (The label on the spray can reads, "WARNING: Even Saddam Hussein wants nothing to do with this stuff") will I get results, usually in the form of a belch of flame that licks the eyebrows right off my face.

      When the engine snarls to life it does so with a roar that strips layers of tissue from the surface of my ear drum, digging far past the penetration point of a Led Zepplin concert in the early 70's. I've been asked by NASA not to fire the thing up during launches because they want to be able to hear the space shuttle taking off.

      For all its bulk, the snow thrower is actually a simple machine, consisting of three moving parts: (1) The snow chute, which swivels unerringly into the wind so that a steady spray of light snow is blown straight back, performing instant cryogenics on the machine's operator; (2) The snow blades, which grind heavier snow into a thick block which will remain impenetrably in place until mid summer, and (3) The wheels, two mean spirited little lumps of hard rubber which provide about as much help as a parking brake for pushing the blower up hill but which will seize control on the slightest downward slope and propel a ton of smoking, churning, bellowing iron directly into the back of the minivan in the garage.

      I don't try to start the snow blower very often-after all, a cleared driveway offers nothing more than an invitation to drive to work. Mostly it sits in the garage and conspires with the lawn mower on ways to separate me from my digits. They think I'm not paying attention, but I know what they're up to, they're trying to drive me crazy but ha ha it isn't going to work, believe me. I figure I've got them where I want them, trapped in the garage, where a match and a can of snow blower starter will put a quick end to them and all their little friends, like the shop vac and the leaf blower. I'll show them.

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Copyright W. Bruce Cameron 1998
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