Places Not to Be: DIY, DUI and Mir

Carpenters, plumbers and electricians must feel the same way about this do-it-yourself movement as I do about John Madden and other bloated sports figures writing books. Yeah great, why did I waste my youth learning how to do this when anybody with a word processor or a box of $13.95 socket wrenches can try to DIY (do it yourself)?Why? Because we are Americans damn it! We seem bent on doing everything ourselves like petulant children who want to button their own coats with stubby untrained, uncoordinated fingers. It may not be the fastest or best way to do things, but we can boast we did it without the help of all those obtrusive adults in our childhood or licensed experts in our own subsequent adult folly. We worship at the church of self sufficiently and DIY is our mantra. Even so, who would have guessed that the monolith hardware store would be the mecca of the '90s as all of us self indulging baby boomers collectively start rehabing our habitats. The "drop out, tune in, turn on" generation is staying put. It is our unwitting destiny. Like every other nice, little weekend hobby in the US -- skateboarding, hang gliding and beach volleyball -- home improvement has become competitive. Once you get past that initial non charge of being able to change a light socket without killing yourself , you're hooked and must test your limits. Though I have no personal experience in this analogy, I hear it is like this with mountain climbers. The thrill and sense of accomplishment increases with the degree of danger.Plumbing without flooding, roofs that don't leak and squares that are square are the payoff and the buzz. The next thing you know your are trying to build a space station out of used Winnebago parts and old IBM 286 computers -- which is exactly what Russia did and would you really want to spend a weekend aboard the Mir? These are all incremental steps that lead you toward the tantalizing peak of all-knowingness. One step further is the slippery slope of DIY where you will eventually go into a slide that you cannot halt till you hit bottom. You will learn that Bob Villa is not god and that the wise man sits alone at the mountain top not to find the truth, but rather to escape from it.DIY isn't all that different that DUI; you can drive under the influence hundreds of times but sooner or later you are going to get caught or hurt someone or both. Seek professional help. Hire a licensed contractor, call me to write your memoirs. We can beat this together.Hi, I'm Dennis and I'm a DIY ... For those of you not familiar with the script. Your line is "Hello Dennis!"

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