The Wide Angle: Always go full bunny

Published 5:36 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2024

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As with most things in life, there are lessons to be learned from being a braggart. Many of you are no doubt familiar with the phrase: “Pride goeth before the fall,” and it and of itself is a stark reminder of the lessons we should be willing to accept when Fate, in its own earnest way, tells us to not be a “doorknob.”

A couple weeks ago, you may remember my column on my epic and admittedly braggadocious tale of snowblowing. Many of you, in fact, may be thinking back with a certain amount of consternation at what now seems like the not so insignificant amount of time employed in reading a column on snowblowing.

If that is the case, stick around because I’m about to share my comeuppance that was a result of this past weekend’s storms.

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As snow storms in Minnesota go, this weekend wasn’t what you would call a whopper. Austin, if I remember correctly in the face of laziness that prevents me from looking it up, received just under four inches. The storm’s windy bite was more the issue, causing dicey travel conditions and near whiteout conditions at times.

The blessing of this came to my own driveway where snow removal proved less than I expected. Not shovelable, but at the same time, it wouldn’t take long to handle with the snowblower.

A late night Friday prevented me from really doing any real snow removal. I just wasn’t in the mood to deal with it and would have plenty of time Saturday to clear the driveway once, perhaps twice.

The aforementioned Saturday rolled around and with the confidence of a man who not long ago compared snowblowing to NASCAR, geared up and went out to the garage to get the work going.

With the garage door open and the snowblower positioned in front of the drift that was up against said garage door, I dutifully topped snowblower off with gas and oil, primed the engine and gave a mighty tug that would bring the machine to life.

Nothing. Not terribly surprising, though, so I gave it another heave expecting this time it roar to life. Again, nothing.

I tried it again and then again and then another time before stepping back and regarding the machine with a frown of moderate ire, confusion and concern. There wasn’t much snow, granted, but there was more than enough cold to go around, and I did not relish the idea of shoveling the entire driveway by shovel.

Putting a foot on one of the wheels as a brace, I gave the chord another tug, sure that the act of putting a foot up on the wheel would be enough to kick the engine into life. Naturally it didn’t and so I stepped back again and walked around the machine to get an eyeball perspective of what might be happening.

As any man of moderate small engine education would do, I jiggled the spark plug cable with authority and nodded, satisfied that this was my answer. It was not, in fact, my answer and so I continued my circumnavigation around the snowblower and finally spied my issue.

Last year, I hadn’t cleaned up the snowblower well enough and ice had formed in the auger. There was ice there now and I deduced (because saying deduced makes you sound smarter) that the ice was preventing the auger from turning and thus preventing the snowblower from kicking into life.

A large cup of hot water did the trick and so I went back to the manly position of one foot on the wheel and tugged. Nothing.

I was thoroughly perplexed now, because I had run through my entire library of small-engine repair. I kicked the tire lightly and not surprisingly, it didn’t start. At this point I began going through my mind the mental list of small-engine repair shops that might be able to fix my issue, but I decided to try one last thing. I pushed the throttle halfway between bunny and stop, pictures designed to show a person running fast and, well, stop.

My thought was that this might jump the machine into some semblance of starting that no doubt has no basis in fact, but I thought I would try it anyway. Giving a final yank, the snowblower sputtered and caught, running at a moderate pace.

I threw my fists in the air looking around for somebody to notice my triumph in small engine repair. I had outsmarted it and was ready to tell everybody. I knelt down, with a smug smile of course, and prepared to throttle the machine all the way when I noticed something.

When I came up with my bright idea, I moved the switch from the right side. On the right was where the stop sign was. And that’s when the last 10 minutes of my accomplishments came crashing down and  the full reality of my failings sunk in.

For that 10 minutes, I had been trying to start the snowblower in the off position.

The moral of the story, dear readers, is this: never brag and always go fully bunny.