I consider myself a handy person, most simple things I will attempt to accomplish, and of course, I’m hoping it won’t turn into a can of worms. Heck, with my wife’s assistance, I recently took apart, after the necessary cursing and obscenities, and reassembled the rear wheel gearing of an old 1940 Ford tractor with amazing success!
As a 50+ years practicing goldsmith, I’m pretty good with small intricate and delicate things so working on a two-ton antique farm tractor, I was needless to say, slightly out of my element… How hard could it be? Just ask my wife as we struggled to align a 400-pound rear wheel without a proper mechanical lift!
Most guys are pretty handy and some barely know there is no such thing as a left–handed monkey wrench! This now brings us to the actual title subject of this literary masterpiece.
Ladies, if your husband or significant other goes trotting off to the garage to repair a beloved piece of jewelry on his or her own, intercept them at all costs! Nothing good is going to result from their good intentions. No skill set with a glue gun or a lead soldering iron is going to produce the desired effect. Trust me!
Only recently, a hubby with nothing but good intentions mangled and outright destroyed a precious and valuable family heirloom—a platinum diamond ring while attempting to remove it from his wife’s swollen finger, and if that process didn’t do enough damage, he then flooded his handy work with a ton of lead in an attempt to right his wrong! What the heck was he thinking? The ring is now unrepairable and, in the process, he chipped the expensive diamond making it near worthless. Nice job! The result… no more valuable family heirloom, and an uncontrollably sobbing spouse. I’d be sleeping with one eye open from now on if I were him.
Then there is the other kind of handy guy, who comes into my shop and insists on “borrowing my tools” so he can perform the repair himself. Just last week “a gentleman”—I use that term loosely—pulled up a chair to my showcase and asked me for the appropriate tools so he could change his watch battery which he himself is supplying. WHAT?!
I explained the answer is nonnegotiable. No, no one “borrows” my tools and that I will happily do the installation myself for $10; and by the way, it’s the way we do it for most normal folks. They give me ten dollars; I change their battery.
“Ten dollars?! But I’m supplying the battery!”
Yes, and I’m the owner of this establishment who pays the rent, utilities, employee salaries among other things and I also happen to be the one who bought the proper battery changing tools and that includes 50 years of expertise providing the service.
So, after my deliberating sermon and in light of my proper Christian upbringing—believe me, I resisted every negative fiber in my body telling me to toss this chiseler out the door—I relented… and out of the goodness of my heart, I offered to install his battery for $5. He still refused! Okay, now all my buttons have been pushed and the inner-city smart–ass kid in me could not resist what came next.
“Sir, this is as ridiculous as bringing in your own groceries’ to a restaurant and expect them to prepare your dinner for free? You are asking me to do the same thing! Please excuse me; I have a paying customer waiting behind you! Are we done here? Good, have yourself a nice day!”
“Welcome to Cheapskates Anonymous, would anyone like to start? I’d like to say that I’m not a cheapskate. I’m just here for the free coffee.”
Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith the owner of the Harbor Goldsmith serving Marco Island and the known world since 1994. He welcomes your questions and comments at www.harborgoldsmith.com.