Monday, December 30, 2019

It's a Given

The other day I was working on my '56 Chevy "Time Warp" and was preparing to mount my old school Carver stereo amplifier in the trunk area. I decided it would be best to mount it on a piece of wood instead of directly to the metal, so I sauntered over to my work shed where I keep all my wood working stuff. After rifling through a few stacks of good used wood, I procured a piece that would work nicely. After some minor trimming and smoothing of the edges I perused my collection of hardware to find just the right length screws to attach everything. It was at that moment that I realized how convenient it was to have these extra items at my fingertips, as most people would have to stop, make a trip to their local hardware store, purchase wood, spray paint and fasteners, then get back home to start again and hope they didn't forget anything.

I guess I really never thought about it before because for me it was always this way. Growing up, my father's garage and basement was a literal hardware store. Lumber, nails, screws, paint, iron pipe fittings, tools, electrical switches, and even a kitchen sink! If I needed something chances were good that I would find it out in his garage. To the casual observer my dad's garage probably looked like a collection of junk. There was a labyrinth of skinny pathways that weaved their way throughout the garage. It was here that I discovered and developed my ability to visually recall items that I had seen previously, albeit only briefly, due to the fact that none of it was organized. One might say it was developed out of shear necessity but whatever the reason it has served me well throughout my work careers.

Nowadays folks like my father are called "hoarders", which is just a newer term for the old "pack rat" label or the more mellow "junk collector". My dad grew up during The Great Depression so that might have had something to do with his "saving" tendencies and the fact that he did not want to throw away anything that was still usable or good. He was a true jack-of-all-trades. One might say that he was repurposing stuff before the term was even used. Although I am a lot more organized then my dad was I do have a problem throwing away good used parts. I sell a few here and there but some of the stuff you can't even give away. People would rather just buy brand new, a few swipes on their phone or a few clicks of the mouse and before you know it, there it is on your doorstep. So much for environmental sustainability.

Maybe it was the way I grew up but I don't feel complete unless I have these "extras" around that I can utilize when needed. I think the challenge is maintaining an even balance of this stuff so you do not get overwhelmed, or worse, get labeled a hoarder. Of course it helps that I can repair almost anything, or at least try. This concept seems to be totally lost on the newer generations. For me, it's a given.



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