Rural folks have been noodling around with machinery since the industrial revolution. Some get quite good at it. Farmers might spend more time welding steel and patching hydraulic line than they do planting crops (which is done with equipment made of welded steel plates and hydraulic actuators).
Sadly, I haven’t gone far down that road. Mostly I’ve specialized in limping decrepit vehicles long beyond their planned obsolescence. Anything beats payments. (You can’t always keep a heap running forever: I still miss both of my station wagons with the longing that most people reserve for a favored childhood pet.)
I’m not an adept mechanic. I’m merely a modestly competent “parts changer”. This means that if a machine is simple enough I can usually figure out which part isn’t working, remove it, and replace it. That’s not to say I’m a moron, it’s just that I have a realistic evaluation of my skills. Since my skills are weak you’d think I’d be forced to drag my stuff to mechanics all the time. I don’t. Partly because I value self reliance but mostly because too many mechanics are just parts changers like myself. Why pay someone $60 an hour to screw around with a brake caliper when I can (maybe) do it myself?
This isn’t to malign all mechanics. Some of them can deduce complex problems, handle tricky repairs, and (if necessary) fabricate good solutions. They are good mechanics. This leads me to a Curmudgeonly Gem of Insight.
Good mechanics are Gods among men.
If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, you don’t have a good mechanic. If you know what I’m talking about and have one treat him well and guard him as a treasured secret. We should revere good mechanics. They should have statues in their honor and win awards for their accomplishments. They should have groupies and tour buses. We need more good mechanics and less of damn near everything else.
In fact this leads on to a “Why Life’s So Fucked-up” (WLSF) Theory (pat. pend):
One shameful reason why Americans are so willing to finance new cars is the lack of good mechanics. Getting reamed by an overpriced chimp that mismanages routine repairs on a seven year old car is the greatest sales pitch ever invented.
Part of being Adaptive is learning new things. So when my 1944 Ford Tractor died I decided to call it an “opportunity”. (Which is no less obfuscatory than a politician calling a new tax “revenue enhancement” so just let it go eh?)
I would rebuild the engine myself. In so doing I would learn how to do it again if need be. And, significantly, I’d cross something off my bucket list.