I was watching a sitcom earlier today, and the storyline consisted of a bumbling white collar dad trying to fix the washing machine. Throughout the show, his wife and children were deriding him saying "he wasn't a repairman" and "call the repairman". Of course, this all made for a humorous episode, but it set me thinking about the disappearance of the do it yourself mentality among American men. It seems to me that nobody knows how to do basic repair work anymore, much less how to put in the effort to troubleshoot basic problems. Do any of y'all have opinions on this mentality? Of course, I mean no disrespect towards white collar professions, but a man is more than his vocation. Don't know if I've been clear enough, but I would love to hear y'alls opinions.
Where are you living, Shane? I haven't seen a $150.00 two axle brake job for over 20 years...not to mention shoes or disc pads at $12.00 a set for longer than that.
One issue is time. A lot of people are working longer hours and family expectations. In today's society you're supposed to, both mom and dad, be breadwinners, nurses, diaper changes, PTA members, coaches, entertainers, bonding, and homework helpers. You're the travel agents, packers and loaders, bus drivers, Boy Scout Pack Leaders, involved parents, and all that. When does anyone have the time to do all of it?
Variety is the spice of life. But life getting too busy for variety.
Moving away from fixing things, let me give you an example, before outdoor gear stores started popping up EVERYWHERE, I used to buy gear online. If you didn't, all you could get was whatever Wal*Mart had. Chattanooga Tennessee used to have one store that sold rock climbing stuff.
I bought a 60L (used to call it 6000 cubic centimeters back headlamps were still in Watts instead of Lumens) for about $100. That was in 2002 I guess.
I have seen a huge surge in prices on every recreational piece of gear. I'm NOT a specialist at all. I like me a little rock climbing, a little hiking, a little camping, a little caving, etc. Now that I live abroad I'm into surfing and snorkeling.
It used to be you could afford to be into all those things. Now, in 2014, you can't touch a backpack like the one I bought for less than $2-300. Rock climbing gear is super expensive. Tents are expensive. Headlamps are expensive.
Sure the gear quality is better, but not that much better, and they've taken the cheaper items out of the product lines. The message is clear: you can have ONE hobby, and you can spend all you money on that. It didn't used to be that way.
I mean it galls me that people can sell a surfboard for $700: it is literally just styrofoam and fiberglass or epoxy resin and a dash of paint. That's IT! My income has done nothing but go up since 2002, but I feel like everyone has committed to one thing: you are kayaker, or a climber, or a hiker, or a cyclist. It's too expensive to have too many hobbies, but I try my best. Life is too short not to do as much as you can and experience as much as you can.
That's what "jack-of-all-trades, master of none" means to me. I don't need to be the BEST climber or break Appalachian Trail records or be a pro surfer. I just want to experience more of life, taste a little bit of everything. I want to know how to tie all the climbing knots, how to cook over a campfire, how to roll a kayak, how to do cutbacks on a wave, etc. In short, it's about freedom vs. restriction.
Just a couple of notes. A liberal arts degree has exactly zip to do with whether you can repair or build anything. IMHO, the best way to learn that stuff is to find somebody who grew up on a small farm or a working ranch...back in the 1920s or 1930s (Yeah, you need a "WayBack Machine" for that anymore, but that's who I learned it from.).
Nostaglia aside, so much stuff manufactured over the past few decades requires either specialty tools, hugely expensive diagnostic equipment or was never designed to be serviceble in the first place, that it's no wonder that most folks can't fix things anymore.
To continue with the example of a car, you actually have to jack up a lot of the smaller vehicles in order to change the oil yourself.
A note. The complete description is "Jack of all trades and master of none."
I wouldn't say the Jack of all trades is completely dead they still exist in small pockets usually in rural areas that aren't illegals and can do everything from yard work to roof repairs but in todays metrosexual girly man world you have to look hard.
The main reason why it is changeing is in my opinion that more people study. When you learn a craft it´s natural that you learn to do other stuff too. When i became a electrican i also had to learn welding, working iron, painting etc. on the job.
If you are a academic you normaly dont learn those skills unless you are really interested in it for private reasons. My circle of acquaintances mostly consists of academics and only those that learned a craft before dont suck at repairing stuff.
Also a lot of things produced for private households are made to be replaced not repaired. I wanted to repair a oven that was defect a while ago and they used some unique kind of screws, for which now screwdrivers exist.
Great topic, Stephen
Actually I think the emerging trend is the other way. We went through a long period of prosperity in the US so we were more willing to pay someone else or just replace old items. Now that our economy has hit some setbacks, it seems we're keeping older things running longer, often by learning to repair them ourselves.
A statistic I heard the other day was that the average family car is 11 years old. Much older than a decade ago.
That plus hipsters. Hate on them as much as you want but a lot of DIY trends are the result of hipsters making certain hands-on projects trendy.