Tom Magliozzi, one half of “Click and Clack”, the Car Talk Brothers, has stopped laughing and telling us to change our oil.
If you ever listened to Car Talk on NPR, you’d remember their voices, Tommy and Ray, Click and Clack. Hoarse, nasal, always laughing or incredulous because you’d done something unbelievable or something they’d never heard before, or because they were about to tell you not to worry about it, that your car was fine, that nothing was broken, just drive it this way or that way or brake a little smoother and everything would be fine.
I never had the nerve to call in. I was a little bit afraid of them. What if I was panicking over a broken piece of plastic in the back of the glovebox?
But I learned. I listened and I learned.
You couldn’t help it. Their pure love for what they did was infectious. They truly loved cars, talking about them, fixing them, making others love them.
When a truly beautiful machine died, you knew that Tommy felt it. Every caller, every time. He didn’t have much patience for people who abused their cars. It’s like he felt they were being disrespectful.
When somebody called in to share a story or a problem with a rare car, or an antique or something they’d restored or just obviously loved, you could hear him lean in to hear more.
And he laughed. I can’t remember a show when he wasn’t laughing.
There are tributes to him from all kinds of places and people.
I’ll just say this.
Tommy, sometimes you irritated me. Not everyone knows everything about cars. But I learned from you, even if I didn’t want to. I learned to be more careful and what the sound might really be. I learned what to carry for emergencies and how to listen more closely to a mechanic.
And although I never managed to pick up the phone, I’d like to think that when you were done laughing with your brother over that last awesomely bad pun one of you made, that you’d be ready to take another call and make some college kid feel better about that noise his clutch made last night.
Tom Magliozzi, one half of the wisecracking Car Talk duo known as “Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers,” has died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 77. www.npr.org
For more on Alzheimer’s you might also like: 5 Things to Remember When Talking to Loved Ones About Dementia
Photo: Susan Walsh/AP