For those of you who don’t know me, (Ha, I’m so new around here that is just about everyone!), I am a tinkerer.
Yes I know, that word more than likely won’t sit well with aficionados of the English language, but I am what I am. And just for the record, Tinkerer can be found here in the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus.
The definition suites me very well.
I have oodles of nuts and bolts, car parts, wiring, boat parts, and well, most anything that is mechanical and can be ripped apart I more than likely have a piece of it somewhere around here.
How about the carburetor from a vintage outboard? Yep. Right next to the pile of carburetors from lawn mowers, trimmers, and just about any old gas powered engine that has grace the benches of my shop.
The question came from a visitor to our house the other day, and I was shocked at the mindset of younger generations (as formed by more than one “boyfriend” my daughters have brought around.)
“Why don’t you drag all this junk to the curb, you would have so much more room,” is the paraphrased version of their question.
So I chose to answer that question here where anyone can find it.
First off, let’s define junk. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines it like this:
: pieces of old cable or cordage used especially to make gaskets, mats, swabs, or oakum
a (1) : old iron, glass, paper, or other waste that may be used again in some form (2) : secondhand, worn, or discarded articles (3) : clutter 1b
b : something of poor quality : trash
c : something of little meaning, worth, or significance
OK, so by that definition, I have some worn items that are second hand. But those have yet to be tore apart, to become tidbits of highly usable parts!
But if you really look, I have a workshop full of items to repair almost anything that needs attention in my known world.
Just last week, the headlight switch in my trusty old Jeep decided it would no longer turn on the parking and tail lights. That’s a bit of a safety issue in these parts.
Running out to buy a new switch that can’t be found at my local Napa on the eve of a fishing trip was not an option. Postponing the start of my trip was even less of one!
So into the shop I went, and wouldn’t you know it, within five minutes I had wire and an on/ off switch from the old furnace I replaced last winter.
In about forty five minutes, I had a black switch installed on the dash (which is also black so it’s barely noticeable) that is even better than new. I say that because it is now not possible to forget to turn off my lights. They go off with the key or the switch.
And those old solar powered walk way lights everyone loves to place around flowerbeds and sidewalks, yep- the neighbor replaced twenty two because they wouldn’t light any longer. Turns out the batteries were shot.
With a small piece of plywood, some wire (thanks again old furnace), and a bit of time, I only need to wait for a charge controller to arrive and I will have a wonderful solar battery trickle charger.
Sure, I could have been just like many I know and head down to someplace like Harbor Freight and toss down around seventy bucks on one like this, but why?
I saved fifty five dollars after I ordered a charge controller, and learned a thing or two along the way.
That’s a tank of gas for me, dinner out for me and my beautiful better half, or well hell, anything we want to put it towards! And I have a way to keep my boat batteries charged longer while wandering miles away from electricity!
Maybe it’s the way I was raised, or my insatiable curiosity with all things mechanical, but why on earth would someone throw out items that still have value when broken down into parts?
What it all boils down to for me, is the insanity that has gripped the planet and spurred a toss out the old and buy new mentality.
Ladies and gentlemen, out of sight equals out of mind is NOT a healthy mindset for our future generations!
“Turn left down by the second landfill, then a sharp right at the dead forest. Continue straight until you see Ion Creek (aptly named for the battery acid that now flows instead of water). About that time you’ll arrive in Dumpsville. The diner is on your right, but don’t drink the water, and avoid the beef, them cows was grazed on Hazmat Hill.”
I sure don’t want my grand kids to have to give directions like that!
Now, If you scroll back up to the definition of junk, you will find the letter b. It states right behind that ‘b‘, and I quote, ” something of poor quality : trash”
That explains most of the items you can find at new Walmart! Over priced under quality merchandise shipped in from countries who have learned that Americans want instant gratification, not so much a long standing durable product that can survive generations of use.
And finally, to those who have the thought process of “But I don’t know how to do things like that”. If you are reading this that means you are on the internet. A vast place full of knowledge of pretty much anything that has ever been done on this planet.
Even if you are not a tinkerer, I’d be willing to bet you know one. Remember him the next time you are ready to toss out a device full of wiring, relays, switches, or even just a sturdy metal support rod, offer it up to him first. Chances are he will gladly accept it. And that means one less piece of debris to clutter the beautiful country side!
For inspiration on just what can be done with items most people don’t consider useful, stay tuned…
I have a book in the works that tells the tale of exactly why I have the mountains of useful parts laying around that I do. It is called Desperation Floats, and is still with my editor…
I will be sure to let the world know when the release date will be. Sometime this year yet I do know that! Until then, you can find the first two chapters on Goodreads.