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The Learned Helplessness of Windows

Dec 14, 2009, 18:34 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Emery Fletcher)


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"Sometimes large thoughts pop up from small events. While out for a walk the other day, I saw a neighbor struggling with a half-open garage door, and when I went over to help, she told me the motor had been noisy and finally quit. I could see that the drive arm was connected to the door with a cotter pin, so I said, "If you'll hand me your pliers I can free this up right away." pliers! pliers!

""We don't have any," she said.

"No Pliers?! My astonishment must have shown, because she seemed embarrassed. She told me her husband was not at all mechanically talented and she was even worse. Her husband had told her they were probably safer with no tools in the house than running the risk of trying to fix something themselves.

"I'll admit that by the time I turned 70 I'd gotten rid of most of my heavy power tools and I seldom crawl under the sink to fix the plumbing any more, but NO tools, not even pliers? This was an educated, middle-class couple in their 50's, utterly unaware of how their immediate surroundings operated, at the mercy of any handyman who felt like charging them exorbitant rates for trivial repairs."

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