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Changing a headlight

This morning I had the distinct pleasure of changing a headlight on our car. It wasn’t as much fun as it sounds. It was also was nothing like the way my Dad taught me to change a car headlight.

When I was taught, you changed a large sealed bulb – seven or eight inches across. It took the removal of three screws and a retaining ring. “Remember” Dad said, “Never mess with the adjusting screw.” in a cloud of smoke as he pointed to a small spring loaded screw with the tip of his cigar. “If you mess with that you have to readjust the light” he added.

None of this advice applies now.

You don’t change a bulb like Dad taught me but because of him I wasn’t afraid to change the headlight.

To remove our light I had to take off the whole front light assembly. It includes the high and low beam plus the blinker.

headlight assembly pontiac g6

To do this I removed two long screws and three plastic retainers. There is no longer an adjusting screw. Then when that was free from the car, except for the wiring, I had to unscrew a cap, remove a small bulb and then, without touching it, replace it with a new bulb

Told you it’s not as fun as it sounds.

The best part is messing with a bulb the size of my thumb without touching it. Sound impossible? Not really, you just have to wear gloves. It’s because the oil on your fingers can get on the bulb and cause it to blow out prematurely.

low beam g6 pontiac bulb

These are the kind of tricks an old dog has to learn.

I and my fellow old dogs, don’t live in a world we were trained for. Just like headlight replacing, we’ve had to learn new skills. Never once did dad teach me how to defrag my hard drive or program the DVR. He did teach me to drive a standard transmission. I used that skill last in about 1987.

He also taught me to read a map. Something that’s quickly becoming more of a party trick than a skill.

Lucky for me he taught me many many things and some still apply. I am an expert shot with a firearm, thanks to Dad. He also taught me to cook.

Now most dads, when I was growing up, couldn’t teach their sons to toast bread. My Dad was different. He was an Executive Chef of a large restaurant in Reno, NV long before chefs were considered cool. So when I say he taught me to cook it wasn’t grilled cheese and tomato soup. He taught my brothers and me enough we could use it to earn a living if we needed to.

My point?

Teach your children your skills, no matter what they are or what the future may bring. It will make them confidentĀ  enough they attempt things.

And best of all, long after you are gone, maybe on a warm summer morning, it will make changing a headlight less like a job and more like a visit with you.

I can almost smell the cigar smoke.

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