Saturday, February 5, 2011

Teaching Old Mechanic New Tricks

My father was a teacher in our district for 32 years. He taught mostly Maths, Science and different shop classes - including Auto Mechanics for high school students. My dad can fix anything. As a child I remember him fixing everything himself. Heck, he built our house.

Whenever I am installing a new appliance that requires a little "custom fitting" or doing some sort of repair or upkeep on my car, I usually end up consulting Dad.

Me: How tight do I torque the spark plugs?

Dad: Well - you want them in there really tight, but don't over tighten them. You could strip the threads really easily and that will cost you a lot of money!

Invariably, I have him check the plugs afterwards and invariably he needs to tighten at least one.

Dad thought he would help me today by changing one of my car's headlights. My back is out so bending over to fix it myself is quite painful. But, I could see he was having a hard time getting the bulb out. He asked me if I had a manual, and I said, "of course."

I whipped out my phone and googled ""how do I change the headlight bulb on..." and google began auto-completing my search. The first hit explained how to do it in 5 steps. I told my dad that the problem was he needed to squeeze in the retaining tabs a little further and it will come out easily.

He said. "What? No... I am squeezing it plenty...wait! Oh, ok, I got it now."

I showed him the instructions on my phone. Maybe I shouldn't have as his head was under the hood, and I was sounding like a genius when I was reading off the step-by-step instructions on bulb extraction!

My Dad used to think that he just wanted a cell phones for making calls and that is it. People think that because that is all they needed a phone for in the past, they shouldn't need a phone that does anything else. I wonder if having access to countless repair manuals in the palm of his hand may make him reconsider his choice of phones- it could save a lot of time and guesswork?

All I know is, no matter what cell phone I have (and my HTC Desire does rock), I will still need my Dad.

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