I once nervously asked a grease-stained, cigar-chomping mechanic named Rocco whether a muffler unit, which appeared far too big to dovetail neatly into my Fiat's exhaust system, would be able to fit without roughly a thousand or so dollars of damage to the undercarriage.

Rocco picked up an oversized wrench and well-worn rubber hammer, patted me on the shoulder with his meaty hand and confidently said, "Don't worry, Billy, I'll make it fit."

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