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Mr. Fixit I'm not

by James Logue

News editor

I've never been handy around the house. I can change a light bulb or a furnace filter, but I can't replace the light fixture or fix the furnace. I can't fix the washer or the water heater or the alternator on my car or the TV or anything that has moving parts.

I suppose I should be more positive and try to come up with a list of things I can do around the house. I might feel better about myself. OK. Here goes: I can change a light bulb and the furnace filter.

There. I feel much better now. Gosh, that's sure cheaper than therapy.

I'm not a complete dolt, but I wish I knew how to do more. I can assemble things. I've assembled tables and desks and barbecue grills, but only after a lot of sweat and scraped knuckles. I've assembled a grill only once. When I was done I had four or five parts left over that I had no idea what they were for or where they went. Just be glad I don't work for Boeing.

It's not easy admitting I can't fix things. It's a lot like asking for directions -- guys can't admit they're lost. If something is broken, guys can't admit they can't fix it. Women don't know the pain and anguish we suffer when we finally have to break down and call the plumber or the electrician. When the repairman shows up, I usually have my arm in a sling ("Torn rotator cuff," I tell him. "Otherwise I could have fixed it myself.")

I could go to the bookstore, I guess, and buy a set of those Time-Life books on how to fix stuff. But it's embarrassing to be seen buying those things because you're admitting in a very public way that you're a completely useless slob. It's a lot like buying bran flakes at the grocery store. Everyone knows you're not buying them because they taste good.

I've often feared that my lack of knowledge may someday cost people's lives. I've had dreams about walking down Pike Street and someone will have carelessly left a thermonuclear device on the sidewalk. A crowd will rush up to me and say "Disarm it!" but I won't know how. And in a matter of seconds, downtown Clarksburg will be destroyed. Wouldn't that be a setback for

economic development.

I've often thought that guys who know how to fix stuff could become consultants and hire themselves out to guys like me. They could be very discreet and come over to your house and give you private lessons on how to fix the toilet (No more jiggling the handle!) or how to install a trash compactor. Gee, that would be great.

But until that day, I guess I'll have to lie awake at nights and wonder why the refrigerator is making that grinding noise.

News editor James Logue can usually be reached at 626-1031, but he dropped his phone the other night and it hasn't worked quite right since then. Sometimes he can hear the person on the other end of the line but only if he holds the receiver at a 45 degree angle. He's been trying to figure out how to fix it, but he may have to call the guy from Verizon and goodness knows how much that will cost. We think the warranty has expired on the phones in the newsroom, but we're not exactly sure because some idiot lost the warranty papers. You can also reach Mr. Logue by e-mail at jlogue@exponent-telegram.com. At least that still works.

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