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DIYON (Do It Yourself-or not)
Bachelorhood for Dummies
“Things fall apart…” ~Yeats
Whether it be for theological reasons (Original Sin) or else simply necessitated by the laws of physics (Second Law of Thermodynamics) or the outworking of deep and complex philosophical principles (Murphy’s Law), shit happens. And it happens to domiciles as frequently as it does to people. If you stay anywhere very long at all you are going to have trouble. The rule seems to be that nearly everything was built wrong in the first place and you ruin the rest when you try to fix it.
Most bachelors think themselves ill-equipped to handle household repairs. This is probably true. The majority of fix-it jobs fall into one of two categories: 1) Those that are too big and complicated for an amateur; 2) Those that, if left alone, will eventually be too big and complicated for an amateur. So in the spirit of magnanimity bachelors should borrow a bit of wisdom from Belloc, “It is the duty of the common man / to give employment to the artisan.”
If the faucet leaks, learn to beatbox in time with the rhythm of the drip-drip in the sink. This will save you money and will provide you with something useful at social functions. You should also be advised that cherry bombs will not fix a clogged toilet. Anything to big for a plunger is quite literally out of your depth. And I can tell you from personal experience that coat hangers and the first third of your arm will get stuck if you use them to try to retrieve car keys from the John. Unless you want to be swimming in the proverbial fecal matter-which-inevitably eventuates, leave the plumbing to the professionals.
The same goes for electrical malfunctions. If you are fool enough to attempt rewiring your own house then you might as well make out with a light socket. If you flip a switch and nothing happens, call an electrician. If you try to handle it something will happen. Most likely a closed coffin service. When it comes to all things electric, you should probably not get any more adventurous than changing light bulbs.
But even changing light bulbs is not without its own difficulties. In order to do this effectively, you need the proper equipment–in this case, lightbulbs. A common failing among bachelors is that they tend to run down to Walmart and buy a half-gallon of ice cream, a pack of Lucky Strikes, a growler of Pabst, a family size bag of cheese puffs, four rolls of Angel soft, get distracted by the leggy blonde on the bread aisle, forget the lightbulbs, go home, and sit in the dark. And unless you get that girl’s number, this DIY project becomes fruitless as well as overly expensive.
There are some jobs, like roofing, that involve neither pipes nor live wires but should still be avoided. While you may not be up against 20,000 volts, you are playing chicken with gravity. When roofing, the most important thing on the roof is you, and if you have any sense you’ll crawl down from there right now.
Painting is a safer venture. Just be sure that you buy paint that matches the floor, the furniture, the dog, and your skin because you are going to get it all over them. There are few rules when it comes to painting, and they are easy to remember: 1) Have less paint on the ceiling than on the walls; 2) Tape all the trim before painting–it gets messy after the fact: 3) Paint from top to bottom–do not play tic-tac-toe or do your best Jackson Pollock imitation; 4) Either wear a haz-mat suit or your birthday suit for easy cleanup.
Below is a list of tools you should acquire.
Screwdriver: Useful for plucking pickles from the jar, cleaning animal pelts from window sills, loosening earwax, etching cave drawings, and opening beer cans.
Needle Nose Pliers: For pulling out ingrown toenails, untwisting bread ties, fetching hot pop tarts from the toaster, general pliering tasks.
Hammer: Predominantly used for pounding one’s thumbs, clanging the side of the air-conditioner on hot days, opening locked windows, and looking industrious.
Duct Tape: Everything.
Truth be told, anything that can’t be fixed with half a roll of duct tape is likely beyond you.