Thursday, October 25, 2012

Of Marvel Mystery Oil and Charlie Chan

I just picked up a quart of Marvel Mystery oil because it has occurred to me that we have decided to switch to winter gasoline which sucks because of a number of reasons, one of them being ethanol.

You do not get the top cylinder lubrication with the winter gas that you generally do with the summer gas and come winter gas season it might be a good idea to dump in about 3-4 ounces of Marvel Mystery Oil into every 10 gallons of gas to add a little something to it.

Unlike a lot of people that trade their cars in fairly often I generally keep mine for a decade or more and I want it to last.

Someone asked me how the stuff works and of course I told them "It's a mystery. Go ask Charlie Chan to figure it out."

Speaking of Charlie Chan, about fifteen years ago at a place I worked a lousy sledge hammer showed up missing. I figured a deckhand had lost one over the side and glommed the one he saw ashore. A Port Captain overreacted and carried on like Captain Queeg and the missing strawberries.

I got tired of the carrying on and told him I could likely get the mystery solved and I'd get right on it.

I promptly wrote a sarcastic letter to Honolulu Police department and describing the mystery and asking the whereabouts of the famous detective, Charlie Chan.

I do not know who got detailed to send me an answer, but the best I can make of it is that the letter was likely handed to a pair of pissed off hard-boiled robbery detectives that were likely on someone's personal $hitlist.

If any of you out there have seen any of the old Charlie Chan movies, you remember at the end of a lot of them they offer to let Charlie hand out for a few days to relax and he always refuses the offer showing them a picture of a little bitty Chinese woman and about 20 kids and explains he has to leave because he has a large family to support.

Anyway, the answer I got from Honolulu is that the police department has been looking for Charlie for back child support since about 1953 when he skipped out to Rio with some showgirl he met on a case.

Shortly after I got the letter I crossed paths with the port captain and he hadn't forgotten that I was supposed to have tried to get the mystery solved. I had already given copies of both letters to a couple of his peers who laughed themselves silly when he read them.

When the port captain asked me if I had any news I handed him copies of both letters and told him that I had done all I could. Much to the amusement of one of my admirers I handled the resulting explosion pretty well.

When the bulk of the tantrum was over with and he asked me how I was going to handle things now, I shrugged and said, "Maybe I could try Sam Spade," I suggested innocently.

About that time a smirking more senior port captain charged in and ordered me back to the boat and I would imagine told my port captain to settle down. After all, it was only a $10 sledge hammer that likely was on the back of some damned tugboat where it was being used by someone to make the company money.

I wish I had a copy of the letter but it seems a lot of the letters I have written over the years have turned up missing. It was written back in the days when a little more of the world had a sense of humor.

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