In 1995 Paula Newbie Fraser had a pretty comfortable lead in the Ironman World Championship on Kona, Hawaii. A few hundred yards from what would have been a triumphant finish, she collapsed. I have often wondered what that would have felt like…

The Esprit failed again last night. It left me in a car park after something like an hour off the trickle charger. Still, to be 8-2 in the last 10 starts is something close to measurable progress. The culprit is either the damnable charging system, or the battery itself (likely).

My first call was to Nancy for a recovery. Her frosty response was evocative of the Ward Hunt ice shelf, and I am fairly sure contributed to the unseasonably cool weather we are experiencing in Chicago today. Capital offense is to strand her. Life without parole is to interrupt prime time television with something Esprit related. Thank god they are closing Gitmo.

My second call was to my friend the field engineer who thought I was taking the piss out of him until he heard my wife in the background of the call declaring her vow with an authority that would impress Nancy Pelosi that she would NEVER ride in this crapwagon again and that it was NEVER to be trusted with anything except making it look like the driveway was still in the eighties.

Esprit flavored humble pie is an acquired taste.

After a moment on the charger it fired, threw its now customary check engine light, and slunk the half mile back to its den.

A half mile from home. That’s about as far as I can bring myself to drive it right now…


So then, in the garage, deck lid up, handy dandy power probe out, Beck on the phone, battery showing 11 volts. Which is slightly less than required to fire the car. The battery will charge, but not hold it, so it is either the biggest parasite this side of a Chicago labor union, or the 4 month old battery has failed. Mensa membership not required to figure out which I prefer…

I should also mention that both Stan and TJ were all over me while I was working thought this, and it was well after their normal business hours. Try getting a BMW or Porsche tech to do that.

Needless to say, there are now a good pair of running shoes in the boot.

By the way, brave Paula actually rallied to finish fourth after some time on the deck. There’s always hope.