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11

If You Didn’t Fix It, It Ain’t Fixed

“It is stupidity rather than courage to refuse to recognize danger when it is close upon you.”

—SHERLOCK HOLMES, THE FINAL PROBLEM

War Story. I bought a used car just before I moved to the East Coast from northern California. As I made my way across, I passed through Los Angeles; there’s a steep, long hill leading into the foothills north of L.A., and I had to floor it to keep my speed up. But before I got to the top of the hill, the engine suddenly and completely died. I hit the clutch and coasted to a stop in the breakdown lane. I cursed and thought about what to do, and, for lack of any better idea, tried to start it again; when I turned the key, the engine started right up. I carefully ...

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