Are Americans Losing Touch with DIY Skills?

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Science-fiction author Robert A. Heinlein once wrote: "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."


Are hands-on skills — building things, fixing things, operating machines and so on — really in decline?


Does this matter? And if people are becoming less mechanically handy, is that so bad? I think so — and not just because specialization is for insects.

We don't all have to be MacGyver, but from time to time all of us will face problems that can't be addressed with a laptop and a cellphone. In a genuine emergency, having some basic manual skills could be the difference between surviving comfortably and being totally helpless.

That is a very interesting article. What do you think about it?

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I don't think all of those are neccesery, not everyone needs to be able to program a computer and I think cooking big meals for little money is better than cooking tasty meals
I think cooking big meals for little money is better than cooking tasty meals

still, it is nice to sit down and have a meal one can enjoy savoring, rather then wolfing down ;-)
i agree, but when it comes down to saving money, ya'know
Yes I know. Each year we purchase a "coupon book" that has literally Thousands of dollars of coupons in it. It allows us to eat at some restaurants we would not normally be able to, and with places we do go to, if there are coupons for them, we save a lot more than the $25 usd we spend on the booklet.
I took my wife out to a little Inn and restaurant called the Accomac, they serve French cuisine in an old tyme style that would have cost us over $60 a PIECE to eat there, without the coupon.
Maybe you have seen it ? the Entertainment Book
Kiteman9 years ago
  • change a diaper - check, and then some.
  • plan an invasion - does re-planning the Battle of Hastings counts?
  • butcher a hog - I can't even bone a chicken
  • conn a ship - canoe, at least
  • design a building - check
  • write a sonnet - haiku, mucky limericks, short stories, a few 'ibles, but no sonnets
  • balance accounts - check
  • build a wall - check, and demolish one
  • set a bone - I've held one together
  • comfort the dying - check
  • take orders - check
  • give orders - check
  • cooperate - check
  • act alone - check
  • solve equations - check
  • analyze a new problem - check
  • pitch manure - check
  • program a computer - I once made my ZX81 draw a box...
  • cook a tasty meal - check
  • fight efficiently - I don't know about efficient, but it was spectacular
  • die gallantly - no way, they'll have to drag me kicking and screaming into the void. I'm not going willingly, never mind gallantly.
I guess I would be proud of checking off so much of Heinlein's list, if it wasn't for the fact that it's Heinlein's list.
ll.13 Kiteman9 years ago
fight efficiently - I don't know about efficient, but it was spectacular

Pleeease expand. =)

KentsOkay ll.139 years ago
Just school fights, you know the kind of thing. There was the time I got my head put through a window, but the only injury was to the teacher who checked my head and cut himself on glass caught in my hair. Or the time that wasn't so serious, mood wise, but I found myself under a pile of furniture in the common-room. When I dug my way out, the snooker table slid off the top of the pile and through the window. The closed window, balls and all.
hahahaha. the snooker table one was funny. then what happened?
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