A ‘polymath’ is a person who is talented in many subjects. Another term is more commonly known as ‘Jack of all trades.’ However, the latter is not a gender-neutral term, so I think that there should also have a ‘Judy of all trades.’
A third term is the ‘Jack/Judy of all trades, master of none,’ and it refers to me.
I called my friends in Bellingham yesterday to see how they were managing during the self-isolation and social distancing period. But I got their voice-mail, so I left them a message.
I hadn’t spoken with either of them in months and looked forward to hearing back from them. But I went to bed early and didn’t see their text reply until this morning.
I was relieved to hear that both of them were doing fine, but learned that Norm had decided to replace a kitchen faucet with a new one. It took him quite a bit of time to replace it.
He should have called me before attempting anything so ambitious.
Not that I would have been able to give him any advice.
But I would have at least told him about my DIY (Do It Yourself) experience in the late ’70s.
I was living in a new neighborhood in my hometown of Oshawa, Ontario and was just getting to know my neighbors,
At the time, my car wasn’t running very well. The engine was sputtering, and a friend told me I probably needed to get a ‘tuneup.’
For those not acquainted with this procedure, it involves replacing the spark plugs, points, and air filter at a minimum. And if you know what you are doing and have the proper tools, you would also adjust the engine’s ‘timing.’
So, on a Saturday morning, I visited the local GM Dealer and purchased plugs, points, and air filter.
I didn’t have any experience working on cars but figured it couldn’t be that difficult. By the time I got home, I was excited and looking forward to the challenge.
I parked in the driveway – we didn’t have a garage – and got my toolbox from the house. I would be using my new socket set – for the first time.
I opened the hood of the engine and quickly removed all of the spark plug wires. I opened my toolbox and searched for the correct socket wrench.
While I was fumbling around in the toolbox, a few of my neighbors walked over to watch. I could tell that they were curious, but I let on that I knew what I was doing.
I offered them a beer, as any gracious host would, and they cheerfully accepted.
I explained that doing the tuneup myself was a heck of a lot cheaper than going to a dealership. They all agreed.
I soon learned that I didn’t have a ‘spark plug socket,’ so I wouldn’t be able to remove the old plugs.
I decided to leave the plugs and began to remove the distributor cap to replace the ‘points.’
One of my neighbors asked me if I knew the ‘gap setting’ for the points?
I didn’t know what he meant. So, I replied that I wasn’t sure.
I began removing the old air filter, and that’s when the rain started.
My buddies ran to their respective homes while I gathered my tools and the parts that were getting drenched. I tried to put the spark plug wires back on but couldn’t remember which wire went on which plug.
The rain was pouring buckets of rain on me, as my neighbors watched from their windows.
I left the wires dangling, closed the hood, and went into the house.
It took me a few minutes to concede that I wouldn’t be able to finish the tuneup, so I called a tow truck and had my car towed to the dealership.
I have never touched a wrench since.
Ironically, a few years later, I started my career with General Motors of Canada.
Dedicated to Norm and Gina
I hope that my stories are a gift to your head and heart.
Stay safe. Be well. Laugh often.
Today’s tune from Danny’s library (purchased):