We are the ones who make turn signals work

I do not know that much about cars. The extent of my knowledge is that you get in the car, turn the key, drive to your destination, turn the car off and get out. You just repeat the process until there’s a glitch.

Then you take the car to the guy who fixes it. After he’s done, you get in the car, turn the key and … you know the rest.

I am so automotively and mechanically inept that I can’t even find the Kuhneutson Valve. I can’t tell the difference between the Manifold Sprocket Tensioner and the Johnson Rod. Show me a Tri-shaft Carburetor Flange and I’d confuse it with the Springtrap Override Fitting.

I’ve tried to change the Glove Compartment Filter and have protected my tires by changing the winter air to the summer air. I even asked the fellow at AutoZone where they kept the cans of Elbow Grease.

Which all brings us to the blinker fluid. Contrary to what people like me may think, turn signals do not need a special hydraulic solution to function. They are entirely electrical in nature and are manually initiated by the driver.

However, I did give them a second thought when I saw a sign on the expressway that said, “Turn signals don’t work? Check your blinker fluid.”

For a second I thought, “Wait a minute! There really is blinker fluid?” But then I realized that the expressway sign people were just messing with drivers to get them to use their turn signals.

As I drove along, I got to thinking about that sign.

I wondered, “If there really was such a thing as blinker fluid, what would it be?”

As I waxed philosophical, I suddenly made an eye-opening connection: We are the metaphorical blinker fluid. We are the ones who make the turn signals work. And, if that is the case, could it be possible for us to run out of the mechanism that impels us to use them?

I reasoned that the activating ingredient that motivates us to flip the signal switch is whether or not we care about the other drivers.

We know where we’re going, so the blinker isn’t for us. It’s for the other drivers who have no clue as to our route and would like a little blinkn’ clue as to what we’re going to do next.

So, the level of our blinker fluid is the amount of consideration we have for others. And, if our dominant inclination to not use our turn signals is any indication, then it appears that many of us are running out of blinker fluid.

Many feel that turn signals are not a big deal. In fact, a poll showed that the No. 1 reason why people didn’t use them was, “I don’t care,” as in, “I don’t care about other people.”

But if we don’t care about others in the little things, like courtesy blinkers, how are we to care about them in the big things, like empathy and love and sacrifice?

I’m just saying that maybe a lot of our problems are because we don’t care enough about each other. Perhaps we can start with the small things.
Like blinkers.

That might just be the signal that things are getting better.

• Michael Penkava taught a bunch of kids and wrote a bunch of stuff. His car was acting cranky so he changed the Menstrual Cycle Pin. It’s now running fine, although it’s retaining headlight halogen fluid. He can be reached at

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