Magic.

Magic is like a rain dance. Timing is everything. Same goes for convincing a youngster that you can make the traffic light change to green by coughing. If your sense of timing is right on and you’re familiar with the traffic lights at a particular intersection, you can get away with that one most of the time.

##### Retired Hay Hauler

Then there’s the things that have a logical explanation that appear … at least a little bizarre. An understanding of how things work can make others say things like, “The machine is afraid of (someone).” Sometimes it’s quicker to just restart a machine than to explain why it won’t start from the position it was found in and wouldn’t start.

Say there’s a power outage and after it’s restored, the machine won’t start. If the machine is compressing something “one bite at a time” and the power goes off, chances are it will stop not where it was when the go juice went away, but where the momentum hit the stiff point of the compression stroke.

To make it start back up, it usually needs to reverse until there will be enough momentum built up to carry it past the “hard place” and on through the cycle.

Then there’s finding a buried water line. Some use the term “witching,” but it’s more logical than that. Bend one end of a pair of uncoated steel welding rods at 90 degrees (to a square) about 4 inches from the end. Take the “L” shaped rods, one in each hand by the short end. Hold the short end vertical to the ground with the long ends pointing away from you. Hold them loosely. Walk toward the area you think the water pipe crosses your path. As you approach the pipe, the rods in your hands will move either away from each other or toward each other so that when you’re atop the missing water pipe, the rods will be parallel to it.

The minerals in the water in the hidden pipe via the same magnetism that makes a compass work, acts with the iron (steel) rods to parallel the direction the pipe runs. What the pipe is made of doesn’t matter, but there needs to be some water in it to work.

The other kind of “water witching,” using a forked piece of a tree to find a spot to dig a well … I won’t go into. I don’t understand it other than those who do have too high a rate of success for it to be pure hokum.

Back to the weather. I’ve seen two versions of this. One involved a TV weatherman, the other the rain dance specialist at a Native American village. Each, being asked for a weather forecast, was asking a youngster to “run down to the village and see if anyone is washing a car.”

My favorite is that starting the engine on a hay swather will make it rain if it’s going to rain. “Start that swather up and run it around the yard a few times every day before you’re ready to cut hay. That usually draws out what rain there’s gonna be for a few days.”

Before ultrasound, there was a family doctor who claimed to be able to tell the gender of the coming baby. He would make a note in his little notebook of such things whenever he was asked for a prediction. The dialogue went like this: “So your newborn is a boy and I said to expect a girl? Let me check my notes (making a show of finding his notebook and opening it and finding the family). Let’s see here … Yes, here it is. No, my notes say definitely a boy!”

It was disclosed sometime after the good doctor retired that in his trusty little boy or girl book, he made sure to always write down the opposite of what he’d predicted. If he called for a girl and a girl was born, no one would come looking for his notes in the book.

Other things are just common sense that no one thinks of. For example, smashing a fingernail so a black spot develops and hurts like crazy because the injury has filled the area under the nail, that’s full of delicate nerve endings with blood under pressure. Some have suggested jabbing a hole in the blackened nail with a red-hot needle.

My preferred method is to take the smallest drill bit you have, preferably a new one (at least a clean one), hold it gently in your fingertips and press it gently in the center of the blackened area of the injured nail and twist. It should be sharp enough to easily drill through even a tough finger (or toe) nail.

Don’t be a wearin’ your new white slacks, 'cause when it goes through the nail, it’s a gonna squirt.