Re: inept


I don't know where this thread started, but...

The lack of mechanical acumen among the general population today is staggering. I once
worked in a photo studio, where we were building a set. I handed a screwdriver to a 20-
year old (man) and told him to do whatever. You should have seen the look of incredulity! I
think he had never held a tool in his hand before.

A group of rowing friends and I teamed up and built a dock to row from. One guy means
well, but just doesn't get it (he took a cast-off stub of 2x4 once, decided that it must have
been the size I had been cutting on the chopsaw, and proudly brought me about 20 pieces
that were several inches too short). Another guy is just plain dangerous with power tools; I
try to keep him busy going for coffee. These two can't even assemble a piece of Ikea
furniture. Fortunately they both have more money than brains, so they don't need to.

So it's not surprising that people tighten truck screws too tightly and strip the holes. It's
not surprising that so many model railroaders think anything more complex than an
Athearn kit has "too many parts"

On the other hand, I worked in a hobby shop once. A woman wanted to buy a train kit for
her husband for Christmas. He was not a modeler. I told her he'd get bored with an
Athearn kit, and suggested the Gould crane. She bit. I made a $20 sale. He built it. And he
kept coming back. So, there is hope.

But on the whole, people who have the hand-eye coordination and the mental wherewithal
to figure out how things work and go together are a minority in this country. The sons of
the guys in my rowing group show ZERO interest in doing the guy-type stuff we do, like
building a dock. When I was a kid, I always hung with my father and uncle and cousins
while they built barns and silos and milking parlors. I'm not confident in the future!

Just out of curiosity, how many in this group work in a trade, i.e., are in construction, or
are machinists or mechanics, and how many are, um, paper-pushing "professionals" (as I
am, although I have worked in construction)? Is there a correlation between the work we
do and the hobbies we pursue, or does our interest in making things develop earlier? I
guess that would also influence our career choices.

Sorry, I rambled a bit here!

Walt Lankenau

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