If the law of survival was such that the only way you could get food on the table was to do some kind of “handy” manual labor, I’d starve. I’ve never been much into taking things apart and finding out what makes them tick; let alone fixing appliances or cars when they break down.
You want me to write you a story, fix your computer or paint you a Bob Ross masterpiece? I’m your man. Heck, I even take pride in the fact that I’ve been successfully mowing lawns since I was thirteen. But if you want someone who can build you a house from a set of match sticks well, you’ll need to look elsewhere. I even cringe whenever my wife brings home a new lighting fixture and asks me to simply replace the old. My first thought on situations like these is to let her know that’s its been quite a while since my brother last visited.
My brother is the handiest person I know. He finished my entire basement pretty much all by himself. He laid the sub flooring, framed the entire thing, dry walled, primed and painted. About the only thing he didn’t do was hook up the electric and carpet the floor. When it comes to being handy, there’s pretty much nothing he can’t do.
Me? All I’m good for is holding a flashlight, a ladder or making a lunch run. But I’m OK with that. It’s not like I don’t wish that I were more handy around the house. The fact of the matter is, bad things usually happen when I am.
Take the other day for example.
It’s late at night and I’m lying in bed fully engulfed in a Stephen King novel (which in retrospect, should have been a red flag) when my wife comes in and informs me that the dishwasher isn’t working. It won’t power on at all and the entire thing is full of dishes that need to be cleaned. It’s an older unit that has seen better days, but perhaps it’s something that could easily be fixed.
The next day, I scour internet sites looking to diagnose the problem. I discover that the symptoms affecting this particular model indicate one of two things: either a faulty thermal fuse or a bad system board. It also notes that the thermal fuse is a cheap part and is a relatively easy thing to replace by yourself. That’s when the light bulb goes off in my head and I decide to tackle the job myself.
<insert ominous music here>
After obtaining the replacement fuse, I turn off the power associated with the dishwasher and slowly pull out the unit; being careful not to pull too hard to unseat the copper water line or return tubes. With screwdriver in hand, I methodically remove the eight tiny screws from the inside cover, exposing the guts of the unit where I am am quickly able to replace the thermal fuse all by myself. Feeling immortal and with a sense of job well done, I return power to the dishwasher and press the power button, fully expecting to see the green lights return.
I double-check all of my connections to prove that I did the repair properly, but still nothing. The only alternative now is that the system board has failed and will need replacing. If that’s the case, a new dishwasher certainly makes more sense. Dejected, I piece the innards of the dishwasher back together and slowly begin pushing the unit back into place when suddenly, I hear this slight hissing sound; starting out slowly at first and then getting progressively louder.
For a moment, all thought is concentrated on fire. Perhaps I screwed up the wiring after all. But as my eyes gaze down to my now sloshing feet and liquified floor, I quickly realize that the copper line has burst and water is now rushing uncontrollably into my kitchen. Sure enough, I pull the dishwasher back out and see the large crack that’s become source of the flood.
Sometimes when disaster is unfolding before your eyes, one tends to lose track of reality and oddly enough, it was at that exact moment when the legend of The Little Dutch Boy who stuck his finger in the dyke to hold back the water came to mind, and for some reason I decided to try his hypothesis.
Coming to my senses again after quickly realizing the legend was bullsh$t, I was able to turn off the main line water to the dishwasher and spent the next hour cleaning up the handy mess I had made.
Not only does this incident only reinforce my belief that me and tools are simply not compatible, but also that any job that requires the combination of the two of us together should instead be handled by professionals.
Don’t get wrong. I would love to have the euphoria of completing a handy task all by myself. I just don’t like the thought of drowning while in the process of getting there.