Cracking Jokes and Helping Folks

Tom smIf you’ve posted a motorcycle problem on FixYa in the last month, chances are that tombones49 has answered it. Tom only joined FixYa in March of 2009, but he has already powered through 753 problems, almost all relating to motorcycles, and all for free. The people who have received his assistance know what an amazing technician he is. But they probably have no idea of what a jokester he can be.

Tom came to our site when a band of Washington politicians kidnapped him and forced him to give advice on FixYa, threatening to withhold food and bailout money. He managed to escape but his wife tied him up again and returned him to his captors, muttering something about peace of mind and debt to society. He has since been a model Expert and is now an outspoken advocate of FixYa’s “Mandatory Assistance Program”, as he calls it.

That’s just one of the tall tales that Tom tells. It can be hard to tell truth from fiction when hearing about his life. For example, would you believe any of the following stories, all of which Tom assures us are the truth?

*When he was 19, Tom married the valedictorian of his high school. After 36 years into what is thus far a 40-year relationship, she decided to become an ordained minister.

*When he was 24 years old, Tom changed his last name, which was one letter away from being a common “four-letter word”.

*Tom used to buy so many parts to repair friends’ bikes at a local Yamaha shop that the owners became curious about his abilities. They gave him a 350cc twin engine in about 70 pieces in a box, and asked him to put it back together. An hour later, he had a new job as one of their mechanics.

Though the job was his first official gig, it was a combination of his father’s influence and actor Steve McQueen’s daring that first got Tom on the track to becoming an accomplished motorcycle mechanic. His account of how he came to be a motorcycle enthusiast is just as entertaining as his other stories: “I was 16 and had just watched the movie ‘The Great Escape,’ in which Steve McQueen attempted to escape from Nazis by stealing a Nazi motorcycle. I thought to myself ‘I would die in that situation because I don’t even know how to ride a motorcycle.’”

“So the next day I set about finding a motorcycle to buy. I found a 1964, 90cc Honda. Only one year old and a real powerhouse of a motorcycle! The guy that sold it to me showed me the clutch and the brakes, then off I rode into the sunset. I had always ridden my bicycle on the sidewalk, so I naturally took to the sidewalk on my new two-wheeler. My dad was yelling from his car, ‘get on the damn road!’ Not me, no way am I going out in traffic! To get home I rode four miles in first gear, on the sidewalk.”

Luckily for Tom, there were no Nazis around at the time and he arrived home safely, only to receive a long lecture from his father. He never rode on the sidewalk again and eventually graduated from riding the streets to riding through the woods, hills, and creek beds around his home. He gained a reputation as quite the mechanic, and was soon inundated with repair requests from his biker friends, leading him to that job as a Yamaha mechanic, and eventually to his career as an Expert on FixYa. And that’s the God’s honest truth, or at least Tom says it is.

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