Jun 14, 2011

This is my brain on FAILURE.

The following events happened on Friday May 13th, but I have no need of bad luck. Nope... everything here can be properly accredited to my own stupidity.

One sunny Friday last month I decided to install new fenders on my bike. All I had to do was unscrew the broken parts and put on new ones. What could go wrong? I found a wrench and screwdriver and set to work.

Four bolts, two screws, three washers and four nuts later, the last screw remained completely blocked by the back wheel.

A glass of lemonade, two nuts, three washers and a kickstand later, the back wheel was still trapped inside the brakes.

After wrestling the back wheel out from the chain I took the front wheel off too. This made sense at the time, I'm sure....

As I stopped to look around me I realized that my plan to keep track of parts as I took them off had FALLEN TO PIECES (hurr hurr). Pieces of bicycle were strewn all about the lawn. Washers and nuts were scattered throughout a forest of grass blades. The chain had snotted grit-filled grease all over my hands and to top it all off, somehow the last of my lemonade had tipped over.

I no longer knew which parts went where and I began to panic. My brain went into overdrive to try and sort through the kaleidoscope of pieces. Bike? What bike?

This is practically a genuine scientific drawing. Of my brain. Yep.

Dejected, I plopped myself down on the grass to collect myself and contemplate my failure.

Becky, the wife and mother of two who lives upstairs from my apartment, passed through the backyard and saw me sitting in the grass amidst my frustrating dismantled heap of a bike.

"Ellen, you're so handy!" she said.

I died a little inside.

I'm sure Becky thought my small mountain of dismembered-bicycle chaos was somehow impeccably organized inside my brain. I knew otherwise, and the cosmic void separating her perception and my reality was depressing.

I wish.

After a long break I finally got down to business to defeat the huns put my bike back together. I still had a whole pile of leftover hardware, but somehow I managed to reattach all the important parts into something resembling a bicycle.

Boy, was I proud of myself! I felt capable, even self-congratulatory.

This was a mistake. [Obligatory hat-tip to Hyperbole and a Half]

Now feeling like the self-appointed master of all things cycling, I decided that just putting the bike together wasn't enough. No, I had to fine-tune this beast into a [Tow Mater voice:] precision instrument of speed and aromatics!

The first thing to do was to loosen up my seized brakes. What could I use to lubricate them? I ransacked the garage and found a can of WD-40. Yay! That stuff is supposed to work on everything from evil zippers to spastic lawnmowers, right?

After squeezing some WD-40 around the joints I tested out the brake arms. I didn't notice much improvement... that was weird. So I added more, but the brakes acted like they were trapped in a slow-motion freeze-ray. When I finally couldn't move them at all, pebbles of doubt began to ripple through my mind.

I was the sorcerer of all things cyclic and surely my bike was the problem... but I decided to look it up anyway.


The following is a list of things that did not happen:

  • I didn't die
  • I didn't damage my bike... permanently
  • I didn't try to ride my WD-40-soiled bike and get pitched off of a cliff
  • I didn't take the can of WD-40 and actually... no. Just no.

So really, it could have been worse. And I DID fix my bike... eventually.

Shoosh yeah!!!


  1. Psh, this kind of crap happens to me everyday...not just on Fridays...or 13ths.

    Well-written, I enjoyed.

    PS: I like your blog's background picture!

  2. Haha that was hilarious! I especially liked the use of the word 'crapcakes' in the Google search!
    I do stuff like this all the time, my brain is about as organised as a stuffed toy in a blender. Very good post!

  3. A similar thing happened to me with my pen! You'd think pens would be easy to take apart and put back together...shows the extent of my failness

  4. This was funny! :D

    I took apart my laptop's keyboard a couple of weeks ago, and sort of screwed it up. I feel your pain.

  5. @Shannon:
    Thanks, I'm glad you like it! I don't know whether I should change the background back just yet... I'm debating editing my feet & shoes into it and keeping it like that for a while. What do you think?

    Believe it or not, all those "search results" were paraphrased from real advice and comments I found on bike forums.
    ...weellll, maybe I did add crapcakes. =P

    @Flyergirl and @Gabi:
    I always enjoy hearing that I'm not the only one who does things like... all the silly things I do. =] I can't imagine attempting to take apart a laptop keyboard though. =O

  6. Oh the torture of trying to fix something yourself. I know your pain. It's good you tried to, at least now you know more about what not to do. Lol.

  7. Haha this made me laugh :D
    Loved the images!

  8. no matter how hard you try, you will never be hyperbole and a half. good try.

  9. @Kat:
    Exactly! I feel SO much more capable after the fact. =D I'm not just the master or sorcerer of cycling... this experience practically qualifies me to build a bike from origami paper and bagels!
    Um... right? =P

    I'm so glad. =) I love sharing things and even if just one other person finds it funny or otherwise useful, the things I write are totally worth it.

    You are absolutely right. I never will. But Allie Brosh (who is much much funnier) is a HUGE inspiration to me and I've discovered that I love blogging in this style.
    Being Defenestrated Feet is more than enough for me. Thanks for your encouragement, however less-than-sincere it might have been. =]

  10. Stunned,excellent writing Ellen!!!! Ever Thought about doing it for a living?

    With warm regards, The Dream Catcher.

  11. @[2nd] Anonymous:

    Thank you!!! I have indeed, but that was a long time ago. I've always wanted to write and publish a novel, but I've never really done anything about it. I like writing, but don't do it often enough.

    ...I guess that's one of the reasons I started this blog. =)

    1. You´re gifted! Do what you love.

  12. LOL! I wouldn't even bother trying to fix my bike. I'd screw it over SO BADLY!! D;

  13. Ha ha ha Don't feel too bad... Until I read your post, I thought I could use WD40 too... :/

  14. @Jodie-Ann:
    Always my biggest fear! When I do seriously screw something over, I just try to forget about it and pretend nothing happened. *whistles*

    Lol. ^^ You know advertising has been too effective when incidents like this start popping up. It reminds me of those awkward product labels, like "Hair Colouring: Do not use as an ice cream topping." XD

  15. @Mint: Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.


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