About thirty minutes after I put the washing machine back together Bride asked me one of the more unfavorable of questions: “Does the dryer seem noisy to you?”

“Why no, Beloved, it does not. It sounds just fine to me. Just close the laundry room door and all will be well.”

Unfortunately she was right and over the next couple weeks the slight rumble escalated until finally every time the dryer ran it sounded like a couple of giant robots doing the nasty. It would have been funny if it hadn’t been so annoying.

So, I went to my trusty internet and looked up how to fix the dryer. I tackled this project over the weekend and discovered that dryers run on rollerblade wheels. I never would have thought that, but it’s true. Anyway, a quick trip to the Sears appliance repair store and my dryer was outfitted with a new set of wheels and now runs quieter than it ever has before and it didn’t cost me $169 for a repairman to look inside. In fact, the replacement parts on the washer and the dryer combined came to a little more than $60 and even with having to take the washer apart twice, neither repair took more than an hour to do.

This is why I do stuff myself.

See, I’m about to go all America on you, but you probably need it.

Once upon a time, Americans did things. We grew our food, we repaired our vehicles, and we fixed our appliances. We didn’t need anybody to tell us to reuse or recycle because containers weren’t disposable. Things were made to last and they were made to be serviceable. Men were jacks of all trades and most had real, useful skills.

Enter pop culture. Decades of Al Bundy and Tim Taylor, Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin not only dumbed down the narrative, but completely rewrote the role of the modern man… in real life!

Attempting to fix a leaky faucet will inevitably result in a comical jet stream that will soak the Dopey Dad who’s just too stupid to move out of the way (or turn off the water first). The wise, ever patient wife will roll her eyes and say she told him so, and can we please call a plumber now? And one or two snarky kids will either shake their heads in pure disgust or utter some catch phrase, all to a laugh track as credits roll and we all learn a valuable lesson about life.

And Dopey Dad, the Dumb White Husband, if you will, accepted this as true. Everyone stepped into their prescribed role in real life. How many people do you know who are caricatures of their TV counterparts? Guys who know nothing about anything but sports, and are actually proud of that? Wives who seem to barely tolerate the knuckle dragging lummox who lives in their house? Rude, sarcastic, kids? I bet you can all think of a couple real-life examples and there are lots and lots of you reading this right now. What does that tell you?

That may be back in the day when all the moms were worried that kids would be inspired to arson because Beavis said, “fire…”

…that may be they were right?!

Look. This is bullshit. There is no reason for this at all. Humans are smart. We are capable. And you know what happens when we encounter something we’ve never experienced before? We learn! It really is a remarkable thing. Right now I have sitting on my lap a device with which I can access the totality of human knowledge, history, and experience. Like, all of everything that has ever been written and recorded. And with this device I discovered that an electric dryer is really nothing more than a belt-driven drum guided by two rollerblade wheels. And they wanted to charge me $170 for that.

It’s only because of pop culture that the internet has not made the appliance repairman obsolete. It’s only because of pop culture that you’re afraid to do it yourself.

I say it’s time to stop being afraid.

Try it. Do something. If you find you can’t fix it, you can always call in the repairman later. Give it a shot. Develop a skill. Learn something new. It’s really not that hard.

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