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  • Post published:January 15, 2024

The word “idiot” may be offensive to some, but let’s not completely rule out its use. I am particularly fond of how the Irish use the word “eejit.” Through the art of literary conjuring, the Irish have expanded such a word into an art form. “Eejit” is one of more than a dozen words used in good-natured insults, though there are a few pejorative uses that can incite brawls.

One cold winter morning when Kay’s car would not crank I said, “I got this.” That should have been a warning that the “eejit” demon was lurking in the shadows waiting for the perfect moment to strike a blow to my hubris.

The positive and negative posts on my car battery were easily marked so I could attach the metal clamps of my jumper cables to the right connections. But when I looked at the battery in Kay’s car, I became unsure. I took a step back, looked at the posts, then at the cable connections and I thought I have a fifty-fifty chance, so what could go wrong?

I clamped the cable connectors onto the posts and jumped into the front seat of Kay’s car. Remember, it was a very cold morning and her windshield had frosted over. Also, the hood of her car was elevated, and I could not see what was happening underneath. When I turned on the ignition, I expected the engine to give me some sign of life; a grumbling turnover would have been encouraging.

Then I noticed a trail of smoke floating by the passenger side window. I thought it must be the condensation of exhaust fumes from my car, but the smell of burning rubber and melting plastic is not usually associated with exhaust fumes.

To my horror, I saw smoldering cables and a dark spot on the ground between the vehicles where the melting cables had burned the grass. I dashed into my car to turn off the engine, and raced back and yanked the clamps off the two batteries. On the front bumper of each car the burning rubber cable had melted a permanent scar.

I held up the clamps from the cables. The exposed copper wiring dangled from the clamps like viscera of the central nervous system. After calling down curses upon myself in what can best be described as non-church language, I closed the hoods on each car, tossed the burnt cables into the trash, and accepted defeat.

When I told my story to a room full of family, my grinning nephew responded, “You know, Uncle, people have gotten hurt by doing what you did.” Fortunately, the only thing that got hurt that day was my “eejit” pride.