This post comes from tinkerer John Copp.
First, a bit about me.
Age 73. During the last year, I retired from my two principal occupations. Software engineer nine months a year. Alaska commercial fisherman in Summer. Current passions: (1) saving Bristol Bay, where I fish, from a giant mine, (2) tinkering. Married, 35 years. Three kids.
Grew up in a working class neighborhood. My brother dropped out of high school after sophomore year to join the Navy. He never finished high school, but was an inventive mechanic, machinist, pilot, and racecar driver. When it came to tinkering with things, nobody could match him. Nobody. I, on the other hand, was more bookish and graduated from college. Still, I like to tinker, partly because of my brother’s example.
Tinkering has helped me again and again. Certainly in commercial fishing, where everything breaks. Again in the computer industry, where software, hardware, and networks break every day. When others don’t want to touch the problem, I volunteer.
Next to my brother, the biggest influence on my tinkering mindset was building models. There were no pre-built plastic models when I was a kid. But there were blocks and sheets of balsa, an infinite variety of small parts, plenty of paint, and Exacto knives galore. HA! My own kids would NEVER let their kids take on a project using Exacto knives. My parents never paid a bit of attention. They figured that whatever problems I encountered were mine entirely, to fix or not. Whining was irrelevant.
The way that I view the world truly was shaped by building models and tinkering with them endlessly, often until late at night, to get them to a state of perfection. The resulting paradigm is this: you can fix it, give it a try, and above all, persistence pays.
Do you agree with John? Share your thoughts in the comments below!