The Drop Light From Hell
by Animal Jim Feurer
Please Note: Story is based on actual facts, as best I recall. Characters names, other than mine have been changed to avoid embarrassment and controversy and avoid yours truly ending up like Thomas Wolfe.
This story will be especially appreciated by anyone who ever experienced a flickering droplight or flashlight while trying to work with it. It is also a lesson in temperament.
The year was 1971. I was 29 years old and still a high-spirited young man harboring a short temper. I had been in business in Lacon, Illinois full time about 4 years and racing a car at Oswego, Illinois Drag Strip for three. As for my infamous short temper, in today’s world, over 40 years later, I may have been diagnosed as an “Anger Management” case.
I had a sign in my shop many years back that stated:
“If My Temperament Seems Unstable—It Is Because I Care!”
The Main Players in this Story Are:
Yours Truly - Animal Jim Feurer
The nickname Animal stems from my first serious drag race car, a big Orange 57 wheel standing Mercury. The car’s name, The Big Animal was emblazoned in huge letters on its doors. At that time I was owner of Sun Automotive, a Sunoco Service Station on Route 17 in Lacon, IL. Featuring Auto Repair, Bear Wheel Alignment and Balancing and I also provided Speed Shop parts and service. In 1973 I built my own building a block away on a lot I purchased. It is now called-Animal Jim Racing.
A Sun Automotive employee back in 1971. Jim, just 21, was a skinny, tall and ultra nervous young man. When upset Jim was subject to hacking like Doc Holiday and pacing the room or running out of the building.
A high-spirited, semi wild and fun customer and friend of mine in his mid 20s, a construction worker. He worked hard at his profession and was reliable and made good money and paid his bills. All good qualities for a friend and customer. Back then I did lot of work for Howard.
A rare pristine 1960 red Chevy Impala two door hardtop.
Equipped with original 348 Cubic Inch Tri power engine and Turbo Glide automatic transmission. Howard recently purchased this car from another friend and customer of mine. Tri power means the engine has three two barrel carburetors, also coined by enthusiasts as “Three deuces.” It was a high performance option that provided extra power to the engine. Soon in history special high performance American factory cars would be deemed “Muscle Cars”
This is what the 60 Chevy looked like. Nice Car
A totaled 67 Pontiac GTO with 400 engine, Muncie 4 Speed Trans and Heavy Duty Hayes clutch.
This GTO was also Howard’s car. He recently totaled it and bought the 60 Impala 348 tri power to replace it. The 400 GTO was also a Muscle Car”
A fairly New Cheap drop light – (A drop light from Hell!)
The kind with a head, arm and face burning metal shield and cage, ill positioned hanging hook and unruly 50 foot black cord. The type that is notorious to become a bulb flickering SOB piece of crap that most mechanics had to endure at one time or another. My good drop light after many years of hard service had suddenly went bad and this cheap $5.95 drop light was the only thing I could find in our little river town to temporarily replace my good one.
Other miscellanies story characters
This story includes various customers and characters. A mixed collection of folks of all social and age groups that congregate gas stations and garages, usually out of curiosity, wanting entertainment and- or- for social value. A common happening in a business like Sun Automotive.
This was a time period in gas station history before Convenient Stores and Fast Food venders were part of the gas stations. Back in 71 the folks that hung out in my Gas Station / Speed Shop were easily amused. I was the main subject of their admiration hoping I would lose my temper about something and perform for them. Perhaps during a rant I might rip out another phone or throw tools or a wheel rim through a plate glass window! Then they could run and tell about it to any that would listen! Ha ha!
One thing I do want to make clear here. I never exercised my temper hurting someone else or their property. Only myself and my own stuff.
Continued on next page...
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