Old Trucks, Overspray and Theology

There’s more backstory here than you’re going to get. For now, let’s just say that back in May when I was spray painting our house, I drastically underestimated the distance tiny latex paint droplets can travel and still adhere to something other than what was intended. Say, not hypothetically speaking, a motor vehicle.

Fortunately, that vehicle was my old beat up Ford Ranger and not Randa’s shiny black Chevy Silverado. I’m not sure anyone really notices the paint spatter when they walk by my truck. Still, I’d rather it wasn’t on there.

Since my old Ranger has a lot of dents, cracks and scratches, I wasn’t too worried about experimenting. Kind of hard to make a bucket of dead mice look any worse, right? I discovered that “Goo Gone” doesn’t work at all but that “Goof Off” works fairly well.

Since the stuff evaporates about as quickly as ether, gasoline or good will in an election year, I tried soaking a small piece of paper towel, then letting it sit on the droplets for a couple of minutes. That sure worked better than just rubbing it on but used it up faster than a government stimulus check.

After emptying one can of “Goof Off” to clean about a third of one fender, I wheeled over to Wally World and picked up three more large cans. As soon as I got back home, I tore off a small section of paper towel and held it against a spattered section on the edge of the fender. I tilted the can over and squeezed lightly. Nothing came out. I squeezed harder. Nothing came out.

Feeling like a televangelist two weeks before all the old folks get their Social Security checks, I squeezed even harder. A large drop glopped out of the little dispenser tubey thingey. “What in the name of Sam Hill’s three-legged bird dog is going on here?!” I wondered.

Turns out, instead of the almost ether-like regular “Goof Off” liquid, I’d bought their “Paint Spatter Remover.” Well, the name seemed perfect for what I wanted to do, so I commenced trying to use this newfangled stuff the same way I’d been using the oldfangled stuff. But even I could see that the stuff was just too thick for quickly soaking a piece of paper towel.

So, I tried squeezing some out and smearing it around on the spatters with my finger. I’d let it sit a while and then rub on the spots. After two or three or eight applications, I was able to burnish off the specks of paint. After a half-hour of what increasingly felt like actual work, I had a radical idea.

Since this stuff is almost gel-like, how ’bout if I try just squeezing a drop of spatter remover on each spot of spatter? After letting each drop set for a few minutes, the spots wiped off rather easily.

How ’bout dat?! Adapting to the design of the product worked better than trying to pretend it could be used effectively in some other way.

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised to remember that scripture and genuine religion work more effectively when I use them for inspiration, comfort, consolation and guidance for how I live my life instead of trying to win arguments, insult other people or judge how well they’re living their lives.

And I’m also thankful that God came up with a wonderful way for cleaning life’s spatters off of my record when I’ve goofed up. There are some times when the repentance part of that formula seems to require a longer soaking in period… but it always works!

H. Arnett


About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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