H is for handy

Reading the manual is seldom useful.

handyI am not what you would call handy. The old saying “Measure twice, cut once” was invented with me in mind, and yet that piece of wood is STILL too long, or worse, too short.

It’s not that I’m not curious about things work. When I was 10 or so, I took apart the deadbolt on our door at home, trying to figure out how it worked. Unfortunately, I never figured out how to put it back together properly, and we had to engage the services of a locksmith.

I tried the Cub Scouts when I was eight, but they were always requiring specific knots, and I quit that in a year. Speaking of knots, I couldn’t master tying my shoes until I was nine, and wore penny loafers until then.

“Righty tighty, lefty loosey.” Need it almost every time.

I attempted to learn to play piano when I was 12, but it wasn’t meant to be, despite hours of practice. Meanwhile, my sister learned to play guitar in a month, something I could never master either, despite the fact that my dad played.

My father did a lot of floral arrangements, for weddings and cotillions, and the like. He often brought Leslie and me along. She had a great artistic eye, and I was good at schlepping things.

I always appreciated seeing art, but creating art was another thing altogether. Once my 7th grade art teacher gave me a B in some now-forgotten project, and my father asked her why the grade was so high. She said that it was my best effort based on my ability.

Junior high required going to what they called shop, where I could build ill-constructed wood items, and blow up pottery in the kiln. But I actually liked 9th grade shop, dealing with metal, maybe because the machinery was so precise that I could not screw up the project.

That was a useful lesson. If I have the right tools, and I’m shown how to do it, I can do it…sometimes. Reading the manual is seldom useful. Being told how to do it almost never works. But doing a hands-on process, and having room to screw it up without destroying it, helps.

Occasionally, I CAN hang that picture without putting a large hole in the wall.

Now my buddy Amy, she’s handy!

Have to end, of course, with Weird Al Yankovic – Handy.


ABC Wednesday – Round 19

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

22 thoughts on “H is for handy”

  1. I did not learn to tie my shoes until I was 8, I had to rely on adults to tie them. I still use the Bunny Ears method my grandfather taught me then to tie my laces!

  2. You are what we in the education profession call a “kinesthetic learner.” I can relate to your lack of handiness as I, too, look for someone to do the fixing for me. When I was small, our father didn’t let we girls do anything that was “a man’s job” and thus we grew up without those basic skills that we all needed when we lost our husbands. (Yes all of us!) Just last week I thought I would tackle fixing two lamps, but I got so far and had to ask someone where to find a lamp fixer. Thankfully, the local village hardware shop (where I went to ask for help in doing it) said “Oh we can do that for you!” BIG SIGH of relief!!! So for about $25.00 (Cdn) I got my lamps that I paid $400.00 for back in 1985 completely fixed and good for another 35 years! LOL

    abcw team

  3. I’m not the best Handy woman either. So grateful for my Hubby’s skills.
    Reading directions just doesn’t bode well for me. I need to see and figure it out for my self. “Room to screw up” Yes and amen.

  4. I think we’re kindred spirits, Roger! My husband lovingly called me “an accident looking for some place to happen.” By the time, my 4th child was born, I had my teaching degree and knew at that time how many muscles it took to tie a shoe, so he wore cowboy boots for a long time.

  5. Gosh, that takes me back to my metalwork and woodwork lessons at school – I did not excel. I do occasionally turn my hand to jobs around the house, but usually end up wondering why a simple thirty-minute piece of DIY occupies an entire day!

  6. With little or no evidence for my abilities, I approach each project and disaster with the confidence that I can, in fact, fix it.

    I just patted myself on the back for figuring out yesterday that my house has two sewer vents, which may be why flushing the one vent didn’t help stop my upstairs toilet from farting (I even found the second vent based on explanations I found online on how venting should work, so pretty proud of the whole theory-to-application bridge.)

    So I’m learning. One of the things I’ve learned is that 80% of handiness is confidence. 🙂

  7. I’m not handy either unless it’s a job that just needs you to go ahead full strong and get er done! My Dear is very handy, thankfully, and he’s always chiding me for not reading the instruction manual. Ugh and pooh!

  8. I’ll give most things a go but alas am not handy and have never got two hands doing different things on musical instruments.

  9. I am not a handy-woman myself, or good in tying knots. I like some forms or art but was never good with anything that involves needles and threads.

  10. I can be quite handy if I want to ! It all depends on what. If it’s artistic work yes, the rest I prefer to leave for others, lol !

  11. Your handiwork and artistic antics kept me laughing throughout your post, so please accept my apologies. I can be pretty handi around the house, but I totally suck in most sports. Blessings, my friend!

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