The de-esser on a wooden box, not a car.


Items On Cars

While tooling down Highway 64 this morning, on my way to Tulsa, I heard a funny knocking sound, resembling that of a raccoon on the top of the Tracker, trying frantically to get in and wondering where the doorbell button was. At first I ignored it, because I hear funny noises all the time. But eventually it knocked louder, as if the raccoon had been the focus of a fox in hot pursuit. Now, I'm not one to stop along side of the road when a man-eating fox is on my scent, but neither am I one to leave a fellow creature in such a predicament, unless it is one of those large, slobbery dogs that likes to wipe his feet on my costume. So I made a quick exit from the thoroughfare proper and skidded to a stop upon the barren grassland which was sloping down towards the gutter at such a gradient, that I thought for sure the Tracker was going to roll over on its back and play dead, possibly avoiding its fate at the teeth of the fox but squishing the poor raccoon in the process.

We all three came to a halt unscathed, and I hopped out to check and see what all the commotion was about. My first item of business was to scan the horizon for foxes. The horizon being free at the moment, I turned my attention to the raccoon, who, upon further scrutiny, turned out to be three black bungee cords, suspicious in their resemblance to the same three that I ordinarily utilize to secure my stepladder to the bicycle rack. They had made their way, between efforts to arrest my attention, into a cranny located at the junction of the bicycle rack and the top side of the Tracker. It was but a moment's work to snag them and toss them inside, safe from any fox whose doctor might have put him on a strict diet of elastic and zink-plated steel.

Upon safely boarding the Tracker myself and returning to the tarmac amidst the rush of morning commuters, I began reflecting upon an earlier such incident that had occurred in Tulsa around the time of 1997. You may breath easy now, as the story that follows lies towards the very end of the Pre-Fox Observation Period (by exactly nine months and twenty-six days), and the world as I knew it was free from that particular menace.

As you may or may not know, I once designed and built this thing called an optical de-esser, which is an electronic piece of recording equipment about the size of a book. I had completed the first production unit a few months before, and on this near-fateful day I was delivering it to The Church Studio in Tulsa, home of the country band The Tractors, Steve Ripley, head farmer. The Church Studio resided about five nautical miles from where my house resided, in the rough direction of Vancouver. Not a momentous journey for a Honda Civic, but sufficient to dislodge a raccoon riding on the top of the car. (Civics, as a rule, did not have bicycle racks in those days for raccoons to hold on to.)

Upon arrival at the Church Studio, I disembarked and prepared to delve into the rearmost portion of the Civic in order to retrieve the de-esser, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but my de-esser! Sitting on the roof of the Civic! Great Scott! I reeled as if having just come face to face with a fox who has suddenly gotten sucked into a vat of instant oatmeal on the very verge of disemboweling me. The danger had passed, but the wave of terror had only just struck. I had to take a few moments to compose myself before entering the Church. But I was grateful that I had decided to go ahead and stick onto the de-esser the optional rubber feet, causing it to secure itself to the roof of the car. Raccoons everywhere may want to try it.

© 2015 Dane Tate