STORY — Brad Cox is a man of many skills, but basic automobile maintenance is not one of them.
For filling the oil in his wife’s Pontiac twice but leaving the transmission fluid reservoir bone dry, Cox was named the 2017 Story Village Idiot.
Each year, town elders, AKA tavern regulars at the Story Inn, confer on April 1 to elect a new Village Idiot, and Cox, a “talented but eccentric” local metal artist, was the big winner this year.
For nearly a decade, Cox performed regular oil changes on his wife’s 2007 Pontiac Vibe, which dutifully traversed more than 250,000 miles of graveled, chuck-holed Brown County roads with scarcely a complaint. That all changed recently, when Cox drained oil from both the engine and transmission. Then, in a lapse of either memory or judgment, he refilled the engine oil not once, but twice, and left the transmission dry. Satisfied with a job well done, he then sent his wife on a 25-mile trek to work.
Several miles into that journey, Stephanie called her husband to complain of horrible transmission noises and tailpipe smoke. Brad assured her that all was well, so she soldiered on, and by the time she got to work, the transmission was toast and the engine had blown its gaskets.
“I must have changed the oil in that car 80 times. I taught our kids how to change the oil, too. I don’t know what happened to me that day,” Brad said.
Brad and Stephanie run Cox Mill studio just outside of Nashville, where Brad employs his skills as a welder to create works of art from scrap metal. Eight years ago, he fashioned the iconic bar stools at the Story Inn from old tractor seats and plows.
Cox faced stiff competition from other Idiot candidates.
Matt Gorczyca won a nomination for placing hot coals in a plastic bucket while cleaning the inn’s smoker, igniting a grease fire.
Rick Hofstetter, the Story Inn’s co-owner and a former Village Idiot, nearly won another title for wearing a particularly malodorous pair of sandals into the tavern, clearing out his side of the bar. When he presented those sandals to his canine companion, she backed away in horror. “It was the first time I’ve seen a dog make a human face,” observed Dean “Dino” Walls, a tavern regular.
After securely buckling in his two grandchildren, Hofstetter also drove off with his laptop computer on the roof of his car. That laptop contained the only copy of his new book, “Kentuckiana Roads.” He also left that car — a Toyota Prius — idling in his driveway for two days because he couldn’t hear it.
A Story Inn housekeeper had her long red locks sucked up into the roller of a vacuum cleaner as she was attempting to evict dust bunnies from under a bed. The extraction process required scissors, to be followed by remedial measures at a local beauty salon.
Cox captured Idiot honors from Michael Law, who last year was twice was flagged down by concerned motorists after driving off from Columbus gas stations. Each time, he departed with nozzle and hose still attached, dangling behind him.
Cox will receive a $100 gift certificate and will hold the title of Village Idiot until March 31, 2018.