Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

The best laid schemes of mice and men

July 15, 2015
By Larry DeHays , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Military commanders like to say that the best battle plans go out the window at the first shot. The Scottish poet Robert Burns said (paraphrasing here) that the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry. The same thing is true of many car repair attempts.

The odometer part of the speedometer on my personal truck failed recently. I decided to remove it and send it to a speedometer shop for repair. After it was removed, it so happened that I needed the truck for transportation while it was being fixed. I didn't see any reason why it would hurt to drive it without a speedometer. After all, I have a pretty good idea of my speed around town, always less than 45 mph. So I took it home.

The next day it started fine and got me to a restaurant for breakfast. When I came out later, it refused to start. The battery was dead. I got a jump from an agreeable driver and headed toward the shop. At the first traffic light it stalled, and refused to restart. Dead battery again. I called the shop and had a battery delivered to me, installed it and then drove the rest of the way to work.

Once there, I discovered that I had a type of alternator that required a volt meter connected to it for it to work, and my voltmeter was located in my instrument panel, at the speedometer shop. This was the first time I had ever come across a system like this. I had sent dozens of cars out without speedometers before with no problems, but this one got me. That's not the worst part. The worst part is that some employees of a local marina saw me while I was broken down on the road, and they took some pictures. They gleefully said they were going to post them on Facebook. Well I am hereby confessing to my screw-up in the media, just to undermine their "best laid scheme." Ha.

I was recently shopping for a used truck, and the nearest one I could find was advertised in Arcadia. The salesman there said, however, that they didn't have it there, it was actually at their dealership in Belle Glade. I made an appointment to go see it when they got it to Arcadia. It didn't arrive. For four days, it didn't arrive. Finally the salesman said he would personally drive to Belle Glade with another driver and pick it up for me. When they got to Belle Glade, it wasn't there. They were told it was in LaBelle. They drove to LaBelle. It wasn't there. The LaBelle boys told them they had sold it a week earlier. I decided to use a different dealership. Maybe one who phoned ahead to check on things before driving off.

It is, however, good to know that I'm not the only one whose "schemes" go awry.

Larry DeHays is the author of the book "The Car Care World", a compilation of his most popular columns. It is available now through Amazon, Barnes and Noble,, or at the DeHays Automotive office, 17617 Broadway Ave., Fort Myers Beach. He has been an ASE Certified Technician for 37 years and an arbitrator for the Florida Lemon Law for 16 years. For more information go to or



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web