The job was not complicated - straightening of a couple of chainrings. I had begun working on disassembly of the crank and discovered that this bike did not use slotted nuts on the inside (as I had seen on every other bike I have tinkered with over the last 47 years). I was now imagining this quickie 20 minute job morphing into a 2hr PITA when Rob happened by. Being one who could never pass an unfamiliar bike without a cursory inspection, he quickly assessed the situation and suggested I employ the crude but effective prybar approach. Which I did. About 6 minutes later the job was complete, the bike fully functional, and I had gained 14 minutes and hopefully the enduring admiration of my friend with the once-mangled drivetrain.
Now this is not to suggest that all bike problems can be solved with a prybar (some call for a hammer) or that I am completely devoid of any imagination or mechanical ability. But it does serve to remind that with bikes simpler is better and that having a neighbor who knows a thing or two about bikes and who walks his dog in the morning is invaluable.