Chris Hutchins

Jumpstarting the lawn mower

After months of calculated, meticulous avoidance and procrastination it was time to install a new tire and rim on the riding mower. Why did I need a rim? Different story my friend. It wasn’t too bad of a job, except for not having the snap lock ring tool. Incidentally, those tools can save you about 12 minutes of creative mechanic work. Bonus! I let it sit for too long, the battery was dead.

So dead the charger wouldn’t work so, in full on MacGyver mode, I jump started the mower from the truck. Sure, I worried about the battery exploding and splashing me with hot battery acid resulting in a painful, ugly death. I did it anyway. Man Power. Besides, I’m pretty sure as long as they’re both 12 volt systems it’s okay, right? I know the truck’s about 685 amps and the mower is like 150 but that’s close right? The art of Hutchins’ lawn implement repair knows no obstacles like common sense.

It was about 2:30 p.m. when I mowed the lawn and went about my day. Later, the plan was to get a few movies back by nine. I ran into a little problem, the truck wouldn’t start. I had for some reason turned the ignition switch to the “on” position when I did the “jump-start.” Don’t ask me why, I just did. The fan and radio had been running the whole time and it killed the battery.

It was 8:15, truck won’t start. Wait a second, try again. Nope, won’t start. Try again, and then try again. At this point I am absolutely sure the truck won’t start. I think: Should I go ask the neighbor to jump-start me, or even better, should I just take my wife’s car and deal with this later? No, and no again.

Most men agree, those options are for last resort only. Ask for help? I ask only if I don’t really need it, or, if I am moving. Oh, by the way, will you help me move? Please? I was just checking.

In my mind’s eye, I can see the amperage plunging like an Olympic diver every time I try to crank the truck, but the motor turns over once or twice before I hear the clicking that means your battery is too weak, and that gives me hope. I keep trying, knowing that I am draining the battery a little more each time. I can also visualize the amperage climbing up (albeit slowly) in between tries. I’m hoping if I wait long enough she’ll start.

At 8:16 I try some more. At 8:17 make sure all the lights and accessories are turned off and try some more. At 8:18 I decide to leave it for a few minutes because I know I just haven’t been waiting long enough. At 8:18 and 12 seconds I try it one more time just to be sure. I knew it wouldn’t work. So why did I try?

When the batteries in the TV remote get weak, why do we press the buttons harder?

Still undefeated, I took the keys and went inside to ask if anyone needed anything before I went. I’m very positive. I deliberately dodged describing details of my dynamic dilemma, and didn’t mention my vehicular predicament. I waited, visualizing and willing the amperage to keep climbing. I was determined not to try again too soon, Finally, I had to go or be late. Though I held my breath, she didn’t start.

That’s when I decided to jump start the truck off of the mower.