Monday, November 27, 2006

Fitting, I think...

to post something about this, on my birthday.

I read Kim's post, and laughed. Not because it was funny, but because it's true. I know more people who can't do anything for themselves anymore, and it's that way for no other reason than they just don't care enough to learn. They don't want to get their hands dirty for sure, but they are usually too caught up with what kind of image or class is associated with whatever it is they are paying someone else to do for them, be it changing a light bulb, cutting their own grass or fixing their own car.

My dad taught me everything he knows about automobiles. That's important, I think. He taught me to pay attention to what he was doing when I was about 5 years old, and I'd stick my head under the hood with him. After watching him do things as simple as oil changes and new plugs, I knew that I'd at least be able to do those things, for myself, when needed. After a few years, he got me into turning wrenches. We started doing a LOT of that by the time I was 10 or so, as the POS Ford pickup that he drove at the time, though not very old, was in constant need of attention for one reason or another. I hated that damn thing. It always seemed to break down in winter, and it gets cold in Kansas City! Shift tube for the three-on-the-tree shifter? I did two of those! Clutch and pressure plate? At least it was summer, but man, that tranny was heavy. I got to do the oil changes after a while, and my work was scrutinized during and after. I had to do it right.

Several cars passed through our family's possession over the years, with my responsibilities growing with each one. Eventually, I purchased my own beater and slowly restored a car, rebuilding the entire vehicle while working my way through architecture school. I turned a rust-bucket into this.

It disturbs me when I see people in public who are obviously too stupid to do things that aren't all that hard, like drive in a straight line, and get upset, to the point of wanting to go fisticuffs (I wish they'd start following through), when I honk to point out their deficiencies. This is a minor point for sure, but it shows me that more people just don't care about having tangible skills anymore.

Before I reached age 20, I had largely mastered rough and finish carpentry, learned to wire a house, set a toilet, and could certainly change an EFFING LIGHTBULB.

So, why do I continue to change my own oil, when I now have the resources to have someone else do it? Mostly because I don't want someone screwing it up what I know I can do better and cheaper. Most look at me like I have some sort of problem when I tell them this. My response is usually, "What the hell is wrong with people?"

So what does any of this have to do with my birthday? My dad taught me how to do almost all of it. I know you're not going to read this, but thanks Dad.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are SO right. People don't have a clue when it comes to basics. I have tryed..Lord have I tryed, to explain to both my son and daughter that unless you're Amish that everyone drives a car or truck. Some people have the means to have their work done for them but unless someone in this family wins the lottery I do it myself. I would even if I had the means cuz I enjoy it. At least they both know how to check the oil and add if needed but it's still disappointing to me that they don't have the gumption to work on their own vehicles. They tell me that's what I'm for but I remind them I ain't gonna be around forever but it don't register. You are one of the fortunate ones to be able to do it yourself.

6:16 PM  
Blogger NotClauswitz said...

It's good to have a Dad who embodies competent Leadership - that teaches you stuff, and most importantly how to learn how to do more stuff. Congratulations belatedly, and nice Mustang!

7:20 PM  
Blogger theirritablearchitect said...

Thanks Dirt. It's kinda weird with the old man actually. He's a dyed-in-the-wool Clintonite (spit). Believes the man can do no wrong.

I can't talk sense to him, since he's so far into the thing, kinda like those Marxist idiots.

What makes it more strange is that he's really smart, articulate and very well educated. He's got an English degree, and an MBA. He knows and believes in free market capitalism stuff, but at the same time is faithful to all that control-freak, anti-capitalist, big-government BS regulation crap that Slick Willie and Co. keep shoving down everyone's throat.

It's always been a strange relationship with my dad, but one that I wouldn't change, given the chance.

9:55 PM  
Blogger NotClauswitz said...

Sounds a bit like my own dad with the left-leaning proclivities and an unwarranted trust in Goverment, an MA in Education and... wait, maybe that's it - EDU is notoriously leftward, and once they get the dregree they won't budge. :-) Oh well, they're still good to know and have around! A birds needs both a left and a right wing to fly.

12:01 PM  

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