Jos of All Trades

Jack of all spades

Jack of all spades

“We need a person with real know-how. Someone who can hunker-down and get the work done, no matter what. We need a mover, a shaker, a record-breaker. We need this person to be stronger, faster, better, DAFT-PUNKIER than the next person. We need a true Jack-of-All-Trades” – said almost no one ever… sadly.

Without trying to research the origins of the phrase “jack-of-all-trades,” I know that it is generally regarded as a somewhat positive attribution to have applied to oneself. At least, until some smart-mouth comes along and continues the phrase “and master of none.” While being one with all trades does exclude the possibility of being a master of anything, it doesn’t take away anything from the reality that if you can do anything, then you have the ability to be the master of anything.

Unfortunately, there are so many individuals out there have devoted their lives to learning something extremely deeply, that it almost seems like no one knows how to do all the stuff our fathers used to do on a Sunday afternoon. No matter what kind of relationship you had with your father while growing up, chances are you occasionally witnessed the man’s abilities, one way or another. I’m hoping for the sake of my argument here, those abilities were positive. And for the sake of this argument, what your father did on a Sunday afternoon was fix whatever was broken.

In the case of my old man, god rest his amazing soul, his abilities were plenty and he fixed many things. To be quite honest, I wish he taught me more of the practical stuff I would need in life versus using me as his little helper monkey. I can’t be sure of his reasons for not getting my hands more directly involved in some of the tasks I assisted him in, but I can only imagine those reasons were because he wanted the task done right and more importantly, done safely.

Ironically, the one thing that he should have never let me attempt was toaster repair. Not because it was dangerous, but because it was a pointless task given that we lacked the proper tools and thus was a waste of time.  Then again, knowing my dad as well as I did, he was probably laughing on the inside as he helped me with the flux and solder. Long story short, the toaster had been put together using Brazing, not soldering. 

The range of Sunday afternoon tasks that we once took on is quite interesting. A lot of household stuff that would’ve had most people calling a specialist of some sort; be it a plumber or an electrician or something else that requires a year or two of community college and apprenticeship. Believe me when I say this, there was only one thing we never fixed and that was the security system. We fixed a lot of different things: patched holes in the wall; rewired electrical outlets; replaced faucets and rerouted waterlines; installed a central vacuum system; and more. The security system defied us because it was locked and the previous homeowners failed to give us the key.

You’d think with all this knowledge, I would be able to do pretty much anything. Well, you would be right… right up until I revealed to you “I’m sorry… I don’t have the tool for that.

That was such the case when Mother Nature decided that Toronto should be down right nasty cold and a pipe burst in the laundry room. Fortunately for us, I was home at the time and able to shut the water off immediately. My landlady was a bit freaked out by the incident thinking it would be crazy expensive, but my timing prevented any considerable damage.

Fortunately, I know how to do basic plumbing. However, unfortunately and for some unknown reason I don’t have any tools plumbing. I thought I did, but I guess the plumbing supplies I was suppose to get went somewhere else.

What does all of this have to do with the first paragraph and cleverly-chosen blog title? It has to do with the fact that I am not afraid to take on any task. If I can’t figure out the solution on my own, I will find it one way or another. This was the case a month ago when my car seemingly decided it wanted to kill me. The air filter had shredded and clogged the air intake, forcing the car to rev dangerously high. I was able to fix this by opening the air intake and with pliers pull every little piece of confetti out of my car’s intake. 

This just doesn’t apply to mechanical things. It applies to everything in life and unfortunately, a resume doesn’t come close to covering the scope of different things I can do. My resume can only cover that which a job description asks about with a little bit extra as I deem pertinent to the job to which I’m applying. (See that? writing skills I avoided ending in a preposition)

Speaking of skills, I have to now go plan and figure out how I’m going to attach an electric pipe heating cord to the laundry room’s water supply. This task will involve making a 60foot cable snake its way around 40feet of pipe.

To say that I am a jack-of-all-trades would pretty much not even begin to cover it.



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