See that picture up there? It may just look like two starters, one old, one new—and, fundamentally, that’s just what it is. But there’s more revealed in this picture if you know where to look—important revelations about the fundamental nature of humanity. Do you see it? I bet you do.

I’ll explain the context of the picture, which will help explain the context of what I’m going on about here. The starter on the right is the one from my wife’s Scion xB. Recently, the car was refusing to start, usually while she was out somewhere, which meant I had to get over to her and get the thing started.

Usually, this process involved me getting under the car and whacking the starter with a hammer.

The starter worked erratically for a few weeks, mostly working but still failing every now and then, causing me to have to go find her, get under the car, and beat the starter until it agreed to do its damn job. Its only job.

In case you’re somehow still on the fence about the question of whether or not I’m an idiot, consider this: after the fourth or so time I had to whack the starter, I started thinking that, hey, there’s 12V easy to get to down there, why don’t I install a little motor with an off-center arm and a little switch so she can just auto-whack the starter with the motor when this happens!


After about 15 seconds of considering this, I realized what a moron I was and headed out to just get a new starter, like a non-idiot.

When I got the starter—a remanufactured one—I took a good look at it next to the one I just removed from the car and noticed something familiar.

Hammer marks.

Scars from being whacked with something. Sure, the re-manufacturer repainted the motor, but you could still see the tell-tale gouges and scrapes left by a hammer, most likely wielded by a frustrated person who doesn’t want to be on the ground, and just wants their car to start, already.


There’s enough marks there that I suspect this happened several times. Just like me.

The big lesson here is that, yes, every starter gets hammered. People don’t tend to fix things immediately—we all put things off, we all have busy lives, and we all, sometimes, make do with a few good whacks of a hammer when things don’t work.

I wonder how many re-manufactured starters bear these scars. I bet it’s most of them.