Sixty-five years ago, clever shabby men came around to sharpen scissors, lawn mowers, or kitchen knives. Three doors down lived a man who repaired fountain pens and mechanical pencils. In a shop a block away, two brothers fixed broken toys. My father — herald of the Duck Tape Man — wrapped adhesive tape around whatever split or leaked or came apart.
Forty-five years ago, the turn signal on my truck broke. I took it apart and replaced a broken plastic fulcrum with part of the handle of a tooth brush. A mechanic complained; that was not a “repairable” part.
My friend John tells about a neighbor discovering a flaw in his belt. John took the belt to his workshop and, in five minutes, fixed it. Other neighbors were amazed, not having believed that fixing was possible.
Fixers — people who repair things, not who rig games — are anachronisms. It’s handy to know one, perhaps interesting to talk with one, but who wants to be one?
A society which encourages repair is one in which selling is more difficult; a society which emphasizes selling is one in which repairs are trivialized. It is disheartening to note which kind we inhabit.