Whoa! Didja get the numbers off that truck?!?

October 20, 2001 - 10:23 a.m.

How to do-it-yourself

One of the major things I learned from my Dad was a strong DIY skill. I never knew any different. He raised five kids on straight commission, and we weren’t a wealthy family by any means. I always figured his projects were a way to save money. It helped that one of the lines he repped was a company that made power tools. He bought the samples from them, and I have two of them now. The drill press is serial number 39.

So, as a public service to my readers, I will relay the wisdom he imparted to me, unto you:

“Hold the light higher God damn it! Over here!”

“Where’s the God damn ball pien hammer?”


Okay, now here’s the stuff he didn’t yell at me, but showed me by example:

Believe that you can do it; prior experience is not a requirement.

Study how the person did it before you.

Carefully take it apart. Peel it like an onion. Arrange the parts carefully so that they can provide a diagram of how it will go back together.

Treat springs with caution. If they let go, they’ll destroy the careful diagram of disassembled parts you’re creating.

If it’s mechanical and it’s broken, the broken part will show itself.

Electronics is the exception to this rule.

You’ll usually discover that you took things apart unnecessarily, but that’s okay. You’ll know that the next time.

I’ve fixed a lot of stuff I knew nothing about, using this method. I’ve approached several jobs with nothing but common sense and a screwdriver. Most jobs are nothing but hard work. But like my father, the desire to save money is the primary driver.

I made a fantastic discovery at the local library yesterday. They loan out music CDs! Now I know I’m probably coming late to the party, but this was a neat discovery for me. In amongst the Lawrence Welk and Yanni CDs, I found a Joe Walsh “Best of” collection. Also I found Neil Young’s Harvest album, which was one of the first albums I bought in high school. And the true find: Spike Jones & his City Slickers Musical Depreciation. The cover art shows him with his band, blowing a note on his trombone, firing a starting pistol in his right hand. It's cartoon music. Of course I’m ripping them and burning my own copies.

Next up, books on tape.

the last one -*- the next one

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