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«The Taming Of The Screw», Dave Barry

Several million homeowners’ problems sidestepped

Introduction

Sincere statement of thanks from the author

I sincerely thank you for purchasing this do-it-yourself book, instead of one of the thousands of other, much better ones. I want to assure you that there is not a single project in this book that I would not have considered doing myself if I hadn’t been so busy writing a do-it-yourself book.

Why You Need This Book

If you’re like most homeowners, you’re afraid that many repairs around your home are too difficult to tackle. So when your furnace explodes, you call in a so-called professional to fix it. The “professional” arrives in a truck with lettering on the sides and deposits two assistants whose combined IQ’s would still be a two-digit number, and they spend the better part of a week in your basement whacking objects at random with heavy wrenches, after which the “professional” returns and gives you a bill for slightly more money than it would cost you to run a successful campaign for the U.S. Senate.

And that’s why you’ve decided to start doing things yourself. You figure, “If those bozos can fix my furnace, then so can I. How difficult can it be?”

Very difficult. In fact, most home projects are impossible, which is why you should do them yourself. There is no point in paying other people to screw things up when you can easily screw them up yourself for far less money. This book can help you.

How To Use This Book

The best way to use this book is to place it on a coffee table so that your guests can place their drinks on it. Or, if you’d like to attempt a home repair project, you can look up the appropriate chapter. For example, if you want to fix a plumbing problem, you’d look up Chapter 4, “Plumbing.” Or Chapter 8, “Masonry.” It won’t make much difference.

Chapter 1. Tools: Why They Want To Injure You, And How To Thwart Them

Basically, a tool is an object that enables you to take advantage of the laws of physics and mechanics in such a way that you can seriously injure yourself. Today, people tend to take tools for granted. If you’re ever walking down the street and you notice some people who look particularly smug, the odds are that they are taking tools for granted. If I were you, I’d walk right up and smack them in the face.

We ought to be very grateful that we have tools. Millions of years ago people did not have them, and home projects were extremely difficult. For example, when a primitive person wanted to put up paneling, he had to drive the little paneling nails into the cave wall with his bare fist, so generally the paneling wound up getting spattered with primitive blood, which isn’t really all that bad when you consider how ugly paneling is to begin with.

Special Cautionary Procedure for Those of You Who Choose to Disregard My Advice and Use a Power Saw, You Fools

1. With the saw off and all the power in the house off and the power lines completely detached from the house, place the piece of wood you want to cut near the saw.

2. Leave the room and have the power turned back on. (WARNING: Never attempt to turn on the power yourself! Have one of your children do it.)

3. Have the power turned back off and peek into the room, wearing industrial goggles. If you see any signs of movement from the saw, fire a few rounds at it from a small-caliber revolver, such as you might use to unclog a toilet (see Chapter 4, “Plumbing”). If you see no signs of movement, have one of your remaining children retrieve the piece of wood.

The three major kinds of tools

Tools for hitting things to make them loose or to tighten up or jar their many complex, sophisticated electrical parts in such a manner that theyfunction perfectly. These are your hammers, maces, bludgeons, and truncheons. Tools that, if dropped properly, can penetrate yourfoot. Awls. Tools that nobody should ever use because the potential danger is far greater than the value of any project that could possibly result. Power saws, power drills, power staplers, any kind of tool that uses any kind of power more advanced than flashlight batteries.

How to get a complete home tool set for under four dollars


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