Always Read Your Radio

The right channel of the stereo in my car has been dead for a while now.
Its not really an important thing, I suppose, but it gets quite annoying at
times, especially when the music you’re playing assumes that the right channel
will be there (“Music music music / mmmph mphh phphph”). So this past weekend
I decided to take my stereo out of the dash and see if I coulnd’t find out
what was wrong with it.

This is more difficult than it seems. When I bought the stereo, I discovered
that the hole in my car that was designed for the stereo was too big for the
one I bought. The installer explained that to me when he put it in, and told
me to be gentle. I was gentle. A month later I gently put a tape into the
player and the whole stereo gently popped through the dash onto the floor.

So my stereo is duct taped to the frame of the car. I have often said that
if any poor soul attempts to steal it, they’re going to have some fun, because
the damn thing is meant to *stay* there.

So monday, after I had removed the stereo dash cover, the stereo, the speaker
wires, the antenna, and various other wires that didn’t seem to go anywhere
that I could figure out, the stereo still wasn’t working. So I removed the
right side of the dash, and the carpeting, and the glove compartment, and
the right side heater, and traced wires for a while and still coudn’t find
anything wrong.

Pissed, infuriated, and dizzy from having to lie upside down under my dash
to see what was going on, I gave up, and left the stereo on the floor. %(*#()*$(*#$%%.

Yesterday I decided that no right channel was better than no music at all
and connected the stereo up again. So I was driving around all day yesterday
with the stereo on the gearshift, playing out the left channel, and the time
blinking annoyingly at me partly because I was too pissed to fix it, but mostly
because I can’t remember how.

While I was at a stop light, I was watching the time blinking at me, and
I noticed some fine print above the volume knob that I hadn’t seen before.
It was up at the top of the stereo, and because I had duct taped the stereo
to the frame it had pulled it up under the dash cover a little, so this fine
print had been hidden.

It said “push for bal.”

It took a little while for this to sink in. I hadn’t even realized that
my stereo *had* a bal. Surely all my sufferings over taking my car apart weren’t
because I had accidentally turned the balance all the way to the left….?

Push, turn. Bingo.

Arrrghhh.

I am so embarrassed.

Moral of the story: never attribute to technical complications what can
better be explained by simple human stupidity.