Do it yourself

It is getting harder and harder to keep up with world outside of arms reach.  Much is going on though.  Last Wednesday and Thursday I was underway on a new destroyer putting her through her paces.  She performed very well and will be ready to enter the fleet and do the work our nation requires. 

I learned of some horrible news yesterday while on my way to a Navy Hail and Farewell ceremony.  My cousin was involved in a fatal car accident.  This really hits close to home because we were close in age and hung out when we were younger.  I remember after we both moved out from under our parents roof we met at his place or my mine and hung out for the weekend.  It became more difficult as we both began to work more weekends to pay the rent but he is always forged in my first memories of “being on my own” and doing things myself.  I will be thinking and praying for him and those he left behind. 

We frequently talk about doing things for ourselves but it seems more and more like we cant really do much on our own.  Fifty years ago, many grew crops, killed their own chickens, worked on their own cars, got plenty of exercise and did not depended on things they did not understand or government to meet their needs.  Today most do not change their own oil or grow anything and depend on some government program for something.  As a result, the majority of the population has become specialized in a small number of things at the cost of a good general understanding of how the world works.  I would argue that the vast majority has no idea what actually occurs in a slaughter house or how a car is built or what proportion the government allocates to all these programs that add little value to the people.  Folks wonder why the stockmarket has become more erratic, why so many were tricked into adjustable rate mortgages or why just as many men as women get taken advantage of at the car repair center.  I believe its because so few people actually understand how things work.  For example, I would argue that the general population does not care to learn how their car works.  As a result, when they take their car to be serviced they are at the mercy of the service managers integrity.  The last time I took my car in to be serviced the gentlemen tried to sell me a new fan belt and wanted to change the fluid in my differential at 36,000 miles.  I turned down the offer and asked him to perform only what I took the car in for which was a coolant flush and lower radiator hose replacement (very messy job to do on your own).  That Jeep now has 97,000 miles on it and is just now needing that fan belt replaced.  I went to my local O’reilly auto parts store and purchased a belt for $19 and put it in in about 30 minutes with the help of a Haynes manual.  That got me thinking, what would that have cost me at a service station and what else would they have tried to sell the average customer.  I call my local service station and asked and quoted me a price of $185 for the belt replacement (Parts – $60, Labor – $125).  The guy then began to quote me all the maintenance due at 100,000 miles.

Not that everyone should be able to do major car repairs or get an accounting degree on the side to help with mortgage details but one should consider having a general understanding of the big pieces in their world and the equivalent of a Haynes manual as a resource handy.  I think most would realize a cost and aggravation savings.  Well, with the exception of the government piece…


2 responses to “Do it yourself

  1. The way I remember it the two of you had more fun taking things apart than putting them together and I had to threaten both of you in order to get you anywhere close to the garden 🙂

  2. Sorry to hear about your cousin, I know first hand that a unexpected death can be hard to understand. But the good thing is that you have those memories to carry on. Passing away doesn’t really scare me, but passing away without leaving behind good and loving memories does.

    I love doing things myself, and I have learned that even if your not schooled for fixing or building something, there are references and how to guides all over the computers. The other thing I enjoy is teaching kids and other folks how to do things, to see the pride and joy in their eyes after they have built or fixed something is well worth the time you given them. But I hate automotive repairs, I’ll leave that for you Ash.

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