The Recession Made Me Love Manual Labor

Thursday, January 21, 2010
Posted in category Just Stuff

Tobin Levy writes the kind of piece I love to read: “Tales of an Accidental Grease Monkey.”

But my grandfather’s determination to catapult his son into a white-collar career had the deleterious effect of making him too white-collar, the anti-plumber, if you will. My father is an excellent magazine publisher, but possibly the least handy person on the planet.

I always wanted to learn how to fix things, to spend time with my grandfather where he seemed happiest: at his plumbing company and in his garage, under the hood of his car. But my grandfather’s tutorials for his granddaughters stopped at showerheads. When it came to plumbing and car maintenance, he had an “it’s not for girls, you were made for better” attitude. Grandpa wanted me to be married and have babies. I wanted those things too. My fictional husband would kill spiders, assemble IKEA furniture, deal with our plumbing issues, and work on my car. But my husband hasn’t shown up yet. In fact, he may never show up. And I miss my grandpa.

I remember the time my Dad let me help him change the u-joint on his truck. I took two semesters of Auto Shop in high school and participated with our high school drag racing team/pit crew. I was interviewed, at the time, by our local CBS affiliate for being one of two girls in the program. The other girl ended up marrying the Auto Shop teacher. Because of those classes, I ditched typing class, and to this day I type my “own way.” Though I type fast, Mavis Beacon would be appalled.

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