My friend Gerard had a little essay about the repair of Red Wing boots. I hate to admit it, but I've got a pair of Red Wing boots. The part I hate to admit is that they're my good shoes now, not my work boots. I found a video that shows the process, which I love. I love to see people with hand skills. Doesn't matter what sort of skills they are, either. Chef or glassblower or hod carrier or guitarist; whatever.
I remember watching slackjawed as my mother typed nearly a hundred words a minute on a
manual typewriter. Without errors. Literally awesome. She was like Cassius Clay confronted with a midget wrestler when electric typewriters showed up. I could go really fast on that.
I mixed mortar
for my uncle and watched him butter a block perfectly, every time, with
two deft swipes of his trowel. He never missed. I couldn't even get the
mortar to stay on the trowel, or place the blocks in a row as fast as he could use them. I worked with men that could drive finish
nails all day with a hammer and never leave "elephant tracks." I find
manual dexterity, distilled by repetition to fluidity, fascinating.
I'm not alone in that. As society gets more complicated, people
become farther removed from the physical production of anything. They
often get the same thrill I get when they encounter someone that can do
something with their head, heart, and hands really well.
Factories are important, and many things should be made in a big
faceless building filled with robots and drones. I don't really need an
artisinal flatscreen TV. But I need to see artisans, and feel like one,
too.No one's holding a gun to your head and forcing you to shop for everything at WalMart and IKEA and patronize no one locally except a trash hauler. Some of your neighbors make things and do things. Do the neighborly thing and seek them out.