Embrace Limitations

As the summer went along, the performance of my fishing reel seemed to be in rapid decline.  Admittedly, I've been less than diligent about taking care of my trusty companion, allowing it to fall onto the sandy shore of whatever piece of water I was fishing far too many times to count.  I could almost feel the individual grains of sand intermingling with the gears and bearings, crunching, seizing.

I could either toss this one and get something else, I thought to myself, or I could open it up and strategically apply some oil and see what happens.

In round one, I took off a few pieces, spritzed some general purpose oil into the reel's nether regions and put it all back together.  Back at the river, I discovered that my attempt was in vain, as the unit still struggled.  In truth, whatever I had done actually made it worse not better.

In round two I decided to go big or go home, intent on disassembling the entire thing, bathing the parts in gasoline and putting it all back together.

Using the back of an old election sign laid out on the table as my base, I started removing screws, gears and assorted bits and pieces.  I thought I had been pretty methodical in my approach, lining up the elements in somewhat chronological order in the way they had come out and in groups.  But, when the time came to put it back together, I made it two steps in and gave up in utter frustration, unable to figure out what came next, tossing everything into the garbage and heading straight for Canadian Tire to get something new.

I am so NOT a mechanic.  I even went so far as to download a schematic drawing of the inner workings of my reel to see if that would be a road map to success.  It wasn't.  I might as well have been looking at a step-by-step guide written in Sanskrit.

When it comes to mechanical acuity, my Uncle Lloyd is everything that I am not.  He can fix anything, and often gets called upon by friends and family to do just that.  When I was in his shop back in Kamsack on our holidays, I was in awe of the sheer volume of stuff that filled the space with no apparent rhyme or reason.

"It may be a mess," said my cousin Shelly, also Lloyd's daughter.  "But ask him to find something, and he'll know exactly where to look.  He has a system."

"I hate to throw anything away," said Uncle Lloyd.  "Because the moment it's gone, that will be when I need it for something."

He had a complicated looking part from a swather up on the bench, gaping open, dripping in oil.
I can't remember how much he said it would cost to have someone else fix it, but suffice to say it would have been multiple hundreds of dollars.  He was quite content to tackle the job himself.  Where he saw something reasonably manageable to troubleshoot and fix, I saw a complex set of ball bearings and casings that I wouldn't touch for a million dollars.

Strangely, my mechanical limitations don't impact my ability to work with wood.  I'm actually a pretty good carpenter, able to map out a project in my mind and on paper with ease.  I wonder what the difference is?  I wonder why I'm comfortable with plumbing tasks but petrified of working with anything electrical?

I embrace my limitations, comfortable in the knowledge that there are people and businesses out there that can help when the next mechanical widget decides to fail.


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