We all have stuff in our lives. Stuff that no longer serves a purpose or is no longer used. Maybe there’s sentimental value. Often, it only means something to you. We just don’t want to let it go, even if we can’t actually remember where it is or the last time we picked it up.
There’s been a huge uptick in do-it-yourself projects in recent years. Some of it might have been born of the recession. Then again, maybe it was just an idea for another cable TV show.
I respect those folks who have certain skills in the area of carpentry, painting and car repair. I stand in awe of those who can caulk a tile or patch a ceiling.
I inherited a number of tools from my father-in-law. There’s one minor problem. He knew how to use every single one of them, along with their various attachments.
He’s been gone five years, but I believe he chuckles every time he watches from above as I grab one of his wrenches. In his hands, those tools could fix anything. In mine, the success rate is dramatically diminished.
There’s a great deal of satisfaction that comes from fixing something. It’s more than avoiding the repair bill. It probably has to do with building self-esteem and accomplishing something beyond your normal area of expertise.
Bill, my father-in-law, was an electrician by trade. He also could build bookshelves, change car brakes, stop a plumbing leak and hang sheetrock.
At the Navy Yard in North Charleston, he often would examine a submarine’s electronics. After work, he’d solder a leaky copper pipe under my house. Who knows how to do all that?
After he died, I was asked to clean out his workshop. He had four of everything.
I donated a large number of screws, saws, hammers and pliers to a mission group taking supplies to Central America.
I kept two or three rakes, one or two hammers, four or five ratchets and 6,000 sockets. There were other tools I couldn’t figure out that were designed to tighten or dismantle.
I clearly wasn’t authorized to handle them, but I wasn’t about to throw them away. Besides, many of them clearly said they were “property of Charleston Naval Shipyard.”
I’m fairly certain the statute of limitations has expired for tools that may or may not have walked out of the shipyard gate.
We all have certain tools that are valuable to us at work and home. We also should probably embrace the tool belt we carry and not worry about the various talents that are not part of who we are.
We all want to expand our horizons, but there’s some benefit to also understanding the limitations. I should never try to mess with a fuse box, but I am fully capable of delivering an entertaining and possibly electrifying speech to a large audience.
Figure out what you do, and do it the best you can. You might have more tools and talents than you realize.
However, if you need a few sockets for that extra odd job, if I can find them, you’re welcome to them.
Reach Warren Peper at firstname.lastname@example.org