Friday, February 18, 2011

A couple nights ago I did a very Amreican thing.

I fixed my car in my garage.

I got out the tools went to work and got er done. It looks pretty good, too.

The small hole is gone, the boot stripe is new, fresh and looks pretty sharp and I have an inspection sticker.

One of the things tha has happened to me over the years is that I have fixed quite a few things in front of people that came here to visit from somewhere else.

I recall a European family that had a rental car die on the turnpike before the days of everyone has a cell phone. It was just a loose wire and the whole process took just a few minutes. Most of the time was spent just looking around for something that didn't seem right and then presto! I saw a loose wire, reattached it and vroom! The car started. I had them shut it down and I took a pair of pliers and pinched the lug so it wouldn't fall off again.

The Europeans were impressed and carried on about how clever the Americans are.

I guess some of this was simply gratitude over having their vacation saved, but there is something to be said here for us.

Over the years I have been told that I have good hands, which to some extent is probably true. I really am pretty good at fixing things, but I'm really nowhere as goood as my next door neighbor who is a wizard.

I attribute a lot of this to the way I grew up. I learned that if I broke something that it was my responsibility to fix it before dad got home.

But a lot of this runs a whole lot deeper than this.

Let's look at the history of this country.

For about 250 years people came to this nation to a whole lot of nothing.

In the movie 'Stripes' Bill Murray's character said, "We're Americans! This means our ancesttors have been kicked out of every other decent place to live!" There's more than a kernal of truth to that. Many of our ancestors were thrown out of decent places to live.

Somewhere down the Piccolo family tree there is a guy that skipped Ireland to keep from being hanged for stealing sheep.

A lot of people came to this country looking for a fresh start and got a lot more than they bargained for. There was once plenty of nothing here to be had in the form of raw land and raw materiels and opportunity to see what a person could do on their own.

There were few laws, rules and regulations, too, so the sky was the limit.

People could carve lives out of the land and there was land to be had.

There were also machines needed to be invented and all sorts of things where a guy could make a buck if he had the brains and drive to do so.

In the heartland, the unsettled parts west of the Mississippi the villages were few and far between so repairs and even basic construction were up to the individual. If you wanted a place to live, you simply made it yourself.

I think to a certain degree this kind of attitude carrys on to some extent.

One of the most popular posts on this blog was the one I dedicated to the American crackpot experimenter. The guy that has some kind of off the wall project going on in his garage or basement.

While most of these projects come to little or nothing, some of them explode and change society in it's entirety.

Bill Gates entire empire came out of a garage and look what that did to society.

Thirty years ago computers were big, giant things that took up rooms of space and now every kid takes one to school in a small backpack. Chips are to be found in just about everything bigger than a can opener.

It started in a garage.

Although I didn't change the world in my garage a couple of nights ago, I did something very American.

I fixed my own car.

Ain't nothin wrong with that.

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