“Ain’t no hippie - just a New York Boy”

Got a pew in my apartment now – it’s orange – 70’s orange – very very 70’s orange. I borrowed Tony’s big diesel truck to drive it home. It’s a MANual if there ever was one. It was hot out, but on the way home I ignored the AC and drove with the windows down just so I could drive with one elbow hanging out.

I have not driven stick in an age – and had forgotten just how much I love driving stick. For the last five years I’ve been driving automatics. The last 4 months I’ve been driving an old red Mercedes, a turbo diesel with a slow, very slow rate of acceleration. I can get her hauling – she can really move, it’s just that gap between 0-25 which tends to stymie her. And I’ve gotten so much better at handling this slow boat, learning how to apply the gas just right, learning when to let up and when to place her in a lower gear. She’s now she seems to have zip and responds so much quicker than she used to. Where she used to crawl – she flies. Put in (rather watched a friend put in) new shocks, cleaned a few filters – and it’s a whole new ride.

Or so I thought.

Last Friday I headed to Pullman to teach my little sister some of the finer points of vehicle handling. We used Katie’s little under powered Kia. Have you ever drive a car with a sticky brake, that sends your head snapping forward? Or used a shower where even an 1/8 of an inch turn changed the water from ice to fire, causing you to tear down the show curtain as you flail about trying correct the current state of things?

The sudden and unexpected shock, you get when what you thought was milk turns out to be orange juice.


That what it was like driving Katie’s Kia.

I’d got it all wrong – I had not improved the Mercedes speed and handling, rather my standards for speed and handling had dropped. And standards are funny things – they tend to creep, without our awareness of it. And even now after driving Katie’s car, the standard is still there. It’s her car that feels fast, not mine that feels slow. I’ve noticed this standard creep in my life before – but usually it has to be pointed out to me, or stand out in stark relief for me to see it.

Creep – it happens to metals exposed to continual stress at elevated temperatures, it happens to people who are alive. It’s not the result of a sudden load, or a rapid temperature change – creep is a failure that occurs well below the yield strength of a metal – it should hold – it is the steady constant load and the heat that causes dislocations to slip and eventually materials to fail.

So what do you do if you have a bolt holding something in a furnace – two things. First you look at the loads and temperatures involved and then you design a bolt which will perform in these conditions – then you inspect it at regular intervals.

So how do I work this into my life?

“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

1st Corinthians 10:12-13

He know what I can take – He has designed this bolt.

But finding that way – even when I don’t want to . . . . how’s that work . . . . well here is where Tony’s diesel comes back into the story.


I have not driven stick in years, and I only drove about 20 miles round trip last night – so why have I all morning been pushing in a clutch that is not there? Why have I been trying to shift into neutral at every stop light, and been wanting to downshift on every hill and corner?


Pure and simple.

Habit. It’s a force. It’s mindless. The car slows and my left foot starts pushing against the floorboards.

Habit . . . it’s dangerous, because so often it is mindless, or rather it can be mindless. And that is were discipline differs from habit I think – discipline purses a goal.

Habits are like kids – sometimes you did not mean to have them.

So use discipline to create habit, habits which will help and aid you when it comes time to seek that way out.


And Tony had a Neil Diamond tape in his truck – so I’m on a little Neil Diamond kick today – and by the way - stick to early Neil Diamond (trust me on this - his newer stuff not so good) .

Neil Diamond on the Jonny Cash Show


  1. Hey now, don't trash-talk KIA's...

  2. haHA...the pew is finally placed. Bravo, friend.

  3. Pictures will follow - after I raise it up about a foot - still trying to figure out how that's going to work . . .