Friday, July 29, 2011

In Praise of Tools

He said he wasn't very sociable and so he choose at this summer gathering of friends and strangers to tip his chair back against the wall, sit in the glow of a porch light, and -- with a steel brush -- rid the old sickle of its decades of rust.
"I haven't liked being unemployed all these months but I've sure gotten a new outlook on life," he said while he brushed.
Here are some of the things he told me he had learned since being laid off from a pretty high paying, prestigious job.
  • "If you stop watching television because you can no longer afford cable you stop realizing how many things you don't need but want anyway.  I've saved so much money simply by not watching television," he said.
  • "We have forgotten how to use basic tools."  And so he rescues old, discarded tools, re-learns their purpose and how to employ that purpose, and started a blog so others can re-learn the use and value of tools.
  • "The solution isn't to hire people to do our chores for us but to get down and dirty doing our own chores."
  • "Time is a luxury we squander.  Getting laid off helped me re-learn the value of time.  I seem to have plenty of it now and I try to never waste it."
  • "We throw away more good stuff than a lot of people in a lot of third world countries ever see in their life times.  It's time we started fixing and stopped replacing so quickly."
I left his part of the porch and the gathering itself awhile later.  He hadn't finished getting the rust off of the sickle.
"One day," he said as a farewell, "this will be a shiny and important tool again.  Maybe by then I will have learned its purpose.  In the meantime, I guess I'll just keep figuring out my own."

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