It's been an interesting week, and if you've been around here for a while you know that when I say interesting like this, I'm using the meaning inferred by the old Chinese curse of, "May you live in interesting times." While my computer was sleeping I was rather involved and, while so occupied, it made me think again of how important it is to be technically self reliant, like so many of us around here are or try to be.
Using just the last of a series of "interesting" events as an example, last night I hopped in my truck, an F150, turned the key and it cranked but would not start. A quick shot of ether confirmed it was a fuel problem and a brief search online pointed to a high probability of a fuel pump control unit failure which it turned out to be. This morning, while I was under the truck amidst the wet dirt (this is snow country) fighting corroded bolts, replacing the obviously damaged unit, (how it's been working up to this point is a question for another day), it felt good to be able to fix it.
As the economy continues to limp along in what's fast become the "new normal," those of you who don't have a well equipped tool box and the knowledge and skills to make use of it are at a huge disadvantage. While you may still choose to have someone else do the work because you feel your time is better spent elsewhere, in the example above, not only did I save the expense of a tow to the shop, a markup on the part and labor charges, just think of the time saved. A run to get the part plus an hour or so of wrench time and it's done.
If you're one of those who may be a little short of cash right now, you don't need to invest in gold and silver or some other item all of the smart people advise you to buy, invest in tools instead. Invest in yourself, that's always a winner and you don't have to worry about someone mismanaging your account. Learn how things work and how to fix them when they don't. It's a form of wealth that can't be stolen or lost, you always carry it with you, the more you use it the more valuable it becomes and you don't pay a tax on the gains. Technical know how is almost priceless, plus you'll develop a fine appreciation for some of the most arcane tools that will have others scratching their heads wondering what on earth you could possibly do with it.
If you don't know more at the end of the day than you did when it started, what were you doing? If you were applying skills you already have, you sharpened them. If your skills are lacking you can learn. Turn off the TV, stay away from Facebook and skill up!