Thursday, November 15, 2012


I just re-read this post and I hate it, but I can't stand just tossing something out. So I'll leave it as is... I'll write up something better later.

Self-sufficiency is a dying art in this country.  Shop class is all but wiped out of public schools in the face of budget cuts in favor of other programs. Higher education is no longer a luxury, but an expectation; we are graduating more and more over-educated, under-qualified, over-entitled people into the workforce than ever before, all carrying the burden of federal student loans… and into the weakest economy and job market that our country has seen in decades.

God forbid if you end up damned to a career of manual labor.

This is why I am an advocate of what I like to call “the tinkerer”. Pick up a wrench, a screwdriver, a hammer, take something apart, try fixing something yourself. Find a cheap old motorcycle, a basic old car, a bicycle in need of repair and don’t be afraid to screw it up. The first time you put your hands into a project and make it your own, are memories that you will keep for a lifetime. Start small, swap in some fresh spark plugs, change the handlebars, repack some bearings and before long, you’ll be rebuilding a carburetor, rewiring lighting, re-spooling wheels or even rebuilding an entire engine.

So now you’ve built up a few skills, so what? Well, say your heater quits working at home, call a pro? Why? You just rebuilt an engine, how complicated can a heater be? Not very. Break out that tool set you bought a few months ago and take it apart, it won’t take long for you to figure it out. Oh, look at that, the blower isn’t working, let’s see here… First things first, check the voltage (which you learned trying to figure out why that starter wouldn’t engage on that old pick-up you bought to tinker on) yep, got voltage, so I guess that only leaves one thing, bad motor… Well by now you’ve already learned the tricks of scouring the internet for ’77 F-150 parts, so finding a blower motor is child’s play. Look at that! You just saved a fortune, imagine what a pro would have charged to do the same thing?

Still… so what?

You’re on your way to betting yourself, that’s what.

It starts small, that first time you fix something on your own, it builds confidence, and it builds skills. Then the next hurdle appears, and you apply what you learned the first time. Before long, you’re capable of much more than you ever thought. Change a light fixture in the house? No problem. Got a roof leak? Well, now you aren’t afraid to give it a shot. Your hands and your mind are two of the most incredible things that we possess and especially when used in step with each other.

This country was made great by people who did, because they had to, and it’s being destroyed by those who won’t, because they don’t have to.

If things continue the path that they are on, who is going to maintain our infrastructure in 50 years? Who is going to build the houses? Who is going to fix your plumbing when everyone is too entitled to have anything less than a desk job?

That sure is a lot of burden for few to carry.

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