Do It Yourself Miracle

Was it luck or skill? It was said that John, my stepson’s dad, could heal balky electronics just by laying on hands. When my 1963 MGB wouldn’t start, I rocked it back and forth to coax the starter to engage. But when our electric car charger started to shriek loud enough to be heard outside, we quickly unplugged it from its 50 amp circuit. On the company’s website, there was a code for problems based on the number of beeps. I plugged it back in and counted. Five meant that a relay was stuck closed – unplug and call service immediately. Hmmm, a relay is a physical device. I figured I’d slap the case around a bit and perhaps nudge the relay, just like I did with the starter gear on my MG. I then plugged it in carefully, covering my ears, but it remained silent and the light came on like normal. Wow, thank you!


Blaise Kielar received Honorable Mention in the 2022 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize for an excerpt from his memoir in progress, "Be Heard: The Quiet Kid Who Started the World’s Loudest Violin Shop." He opened Chapel Hill’s first violin shop in 1978 and retired from a music retail career by transitioning Electric Violin Shop into the first worker-owned co-op music store in the United States. He plays jazz violin and clarinet in several bands and leads the Bulltown Strutters, Durham’s community New Orleans brass band.