The revenge of “Mike the Hammer”
Few incidents over the last couple of years will stay branded in my memory like the day of Mike the Hammer. A day that started out just like any other ended in carnage and resulted in the brutal murder of a lawnmower, and the birth of a legend. Please be advised, the following content may upset and offend sensitive readers. Some names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.
A cheery afternoon and a mild mannered customer
It was like I said in the introduction just a normal November afternoon a good couple years ago, sun was shining, birds were singing, it was really just a perfect summer’s day. It was hot during the day with thunderstorms at night, typical Highveld weather. I did mention that this was a couple of years ago, before this crippling drought. It was conditions tailor-made for rapid grass growth and breaking lawnmowers. As one would expect from that time of year, our workshop was very busy with a 3-week waiting period. Our mild-mannered customer, Mike, had a plot not too far from our shop and made use of a 3-wheeled brush mower with a Yamaha MT110 engine. Now, Mike has been a customer of ours for many, many years, pre-dating my arrival at Enviro in 2008 and had a good relationship with Marius and my dad. At that time I was still a young upstart with much to learn.
The Yamaha MT110 engine was a legend in its own right. Hands-down one the best lawnmower engines ever built. Simple and robust, relatively cheap to maintain, even though it was not a cheap engine to start with. But if and when it starts giving you trouble, even the finest detail missed, will cause hours of headaches for any technician. Mike’s MT110 was just one like that and had been in and out our workshop a couple of times over the previous two seasons. We were blissfully unaware of the fact that Mike was on his way with said machine and carnage following very closely behind.
The excrement hits the rapidly rotating device
Through one of the windows I saw a bakkie screeching to halt, its nose a hairs breath away from the air conditioner unit. The driver side door swings open and Mike gets out, nothing seems out of the ordinary so far. I watch him walk to the back of the bakkie where he starts untying the ski rope holding a lawnmower in place. Before anybody can get outside to help off load the mower, Mike, with one fell swoop, pushes the mower of the back of the bakkie and it lands with a crash in the parking lot. That was the first clue that something was amiss, but we still had no clue of what was to follow and that we were mere minutes away from the birth of a legend and the demise of a mower.
Give me a F*&%ing hammer!!
Mike bursts into the front of the shop, shunting the mower before him, visibly upset with the current circumstances. I start walking around the counter to meet him and to establish the reason for his malcontent. This was of course a complete waste of my time and energy as Mike simply burst past me straight into my workshop. My first reaction was more of a “how dare he” than “let’s find out what’s wrong”. The first person he meets is my trustworthy chief technician, Johannes Serhithi, to which he puts the following request: GIVE ME A F*&%ING HAMMER”. Johannes reluctantly complies with the request and hands Mike a hammer. By this time Mike was outside the workshop in the courtyard by our rear entrance, hammer in hand and a mind full of malice.
Hammer to fall
The next thing I see was Mike brandishing the 3-pound hammer, and with a mighty swing, full of anger, he bashes the top of the starter cover rendering it useless. I attempted to stop him but Mike had only one thing on his mind, destroying this mower. He then continued to bash this mower senseless destroying every salvageable part. I stood there horrified at the scene unveiling itself in front of me, seeing a perfectly useful engine being demolished. Through the hammer strikes I heard Mike mumble: “I’m going to f&%k this thing up so badly that no one will ever be able to use a single part of it”. It was absolute carnage!
When the dust settled
When it all was over and all that remained was just a mangled piece of metal on the ground, shards of aluminium and pieces of carburettor everywhere, a calm and composed Mike walked back to the front of the shop with the only clues of what had transpired the beads of sweat on his brow and the hammer in his hand, almost like a modern day Thor. He came up to the counter, placed the hammer in front of me and, cool as a cucumber, said:
I would like to buy a lawnmower please.
The moral, if there is one?
Well,if you really want to look for a moral, it might not be the best advice ever, but it worked very well for our friend Mike. If something gives you enough S&%t and frustration, destroy it completely with the most possible force. It apparently refreshes the soul. I don’t know if that true, but one thing I can tell you is that after telling my wife this story, she has been much quieter, I get coffee in bed every morning and my hammer is missing. I’m still trying to figure out why.
Until next time.