When my tractor died it expired with a desperate gasp and final shudder.
It had been suffering and I had kept using it knowing that it’s mortality loomed. It had committed the very last molecule of it’s aged being to working for me and I owed it to the beast to take a fair shot at resurrecting it. And, because I’m contrarian (and because there aren’t many mechanics that would’ve done it for me), I decided to do it myself.
Of course I had no idea what I was doing. No worries. Learning new things is what separates humans from lower beings like leeches, bacteria, and cats.
In fact I’m about to spout a patented Curmudgeonly Gem of Insight. Get a pencil and write this down:
What one man can do, another can do.
I was hounded by folks who told me not to try fixing it. They insisted that, since I didn’t yet know how to do it…I never would.
I disagree vehemently! Someone built that damned tractor. It’s not alien technology found in the Bermuda triangle.
Further, a series of men repaired it for the 65 years it ran. Surely I could take my place in that long line of civilization builders? In fact it’s the right thing to do!
I’m disgusted when people act like repairs and maintenance of anything is voodoo. Human beings in 2011 aren’t inherently inferior to those that came before. If someone in 1944 could build a tractor, why shouldn’t a backyard mechanic in 2011 re-build it? Why not me?
Of course I am admittedly clueless. I knew it would take forever and there might be setbacks. But I was expecting as much. Anything I screwed up would merely be an opportunity to learn that screwing up is a bad idea. Which brings me to another Curmudgeonly Gem of Insight:
“If it is utterly broken. You probably won’t make it worse.”
This is key! Every hand wringing twerp that leaps for the phone and credit card when something goes wrong needs to take a deep breath and…give it a shot. Why not? Mechanical repairs are not heart surgery or bomb defusing. You’ve got more than one shot to fix it and the worst case scenario is winding up with a machine that is; still broke. Which is precisely what you’ve already got!
Knowing I was starting with an engine that was now inert…I tore the poor thing down. I had the block & crank machined, bought an imposing pile of parts, read the manual (twice)…and began tinkering.
I worked very slowly! Labeled everything. Read the manual. Read it again. No sudden moves. Take your time and try not to screw up.
Then, of course, came the interruptions.