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A Pair of Pliers, a Jack Knife, and a Snot Rag

June 2, 2012

One of the central characters of my book is Gordy, my father, who is a mechanical problem-solver extraordinaire and obtuse lesson teacher. While shadowing him when repairing a farm issue as a pre-teen, he would commonly say “That’s all you need to bring to work – a pair of pliers, a jack knife, and a snot rag. All your problems can be solved with just these three things.” I often mused at the real value of the “snot rag” or handkerchief, but I believe his message was more simple: a person can solve problems with limited means, and a person does not need advanced state-of-the-art tools or toolboxes overflowing with tools we do not use.

Today, I do not take any of these things to work and never have. I do wonder what my three essential things are when going to work each day. They are likely “my computer, my iPhone, and the internet.” Perhaps this is a difference in our trades, but more so how the world has changed. In any case, I try to keep it simple and not have too many tools to do my job.

So what are your versions of the “pliers, jack knife, and snot rag?”

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