Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Tale of Two Earls

Willie the One-Armed Volunteer Fireman who works at the tire shop isn't the only interesting thing about the tire business in our small town. Not by a long shot.

See, this is Ear's Tire & Automotive Repair, which as you can guess from its name sells tire and automotive services.

And this is Earl's Tire and Lube, which as you can guess from its name also sells tires and automotive services.

These two stores are only about ten miles apart, one in the small town of Liberty Hill and the other in the even smaller town of Bertram, the next stop down the road. But here's the thing -- they're two different Earls.

Completely unrelated.

So let's say you're in a small town of a few dozen people. And you're driving down the road and see that your friend Earl has opened himself a tire and automotive shop. "Well heck," you think to yourself, "my name is Earl, I reckon I ought to open one of them up too. I mean, what are the odds that a business would exist that has my name built right into it?"

I asked Earl about it one time (not that Earl, the other one), and he just gave me a disgusted look and said "That sonofabitch." I didn't pursue it any further, because I didn't want Earl (not that one, the other one) to get mad at me. I need my tires to work and I'm pretty sure "Earl's Tire, Lube, and Automotive Repair" one more town over is closed on weekends.


Allen said...

They may look the same at first glance but, on closer inspection, differences emerge.

For instance, "Earl's Tire and Lube" has a bench and a Coke machine. Clearly Earl (that one, not the other one) had a mind to integrate hospitality services into his business. In contrast, "Earl's Tire & Automotive Repair" provides its customers with a large view window overlooking the parking lot. Earl (not the other one, that one) understands that his patrons enjoy taking in the splendor of the great out-of-doors.

Both enterprises offer complimentary parking validation with a minimum purchase (while supplies last.)

I have to ask, though... are you sure the Earls are completely unrelated? Earl (not that one, the other one) seems to know something about Earl's (that one, not the other one's) parentage. There's a town just north of where we live wherein, if you divorce your wife, legally, she's still your sister.

Anonymous said...

It does seem that in small towns, there's one name that appears on everything. We have Shorty and Larry. Like your two Earls, Shorty and Larry are quite prolific. They have transmission shops, Mexican restaurants and a variety of other establishments. But Earl's a lot easier than the Foeckers who live just south of here. Let's just say whenever I have to type that name, I check it not once, not twice but three times. When you had the Earl reference, I chuckled, remembering Earl Scheib and the $39.99 car paint job special. Allen, great posting and you caught the true ambiance of the Earls by noting their differences. We have a Nick's Italian Restaurant. His brother owns one in Houston. If you call one asking for the phone number of the other, they scream about the rotten brother and hang up on you. -- Denise