You drive a taxi in a town where everyone owns a car, and you ain’t gonna get much work. I’m just sayin’. What is it you do? I don’t do much, but everyone needs to know something. It’s all about who you know.
My middle son is working for a contractor this summer, and I am still in high hopes that he’ll learn a lot. We shall see. So far, he has perfected weed-eating and torn off several roofs. I want him to know how to do things. Just random things. I want at least one of my boys to be that guy. You know that guy. We all know at least one of those guys. The guy who just knows how to do things.
My middle brother Hash is the family version of that guy. He can jerry-rig, build, or fix anything. He’s the MacGuyver of Nobusiness. He’s fixed my fridge, my stove, my washer, my dryer, my well….the list goes on. He just innately knows how to do stuff. Now while I believe his talent is mostly inherent, it’s also been honed from years of having to work on stuff because on a farm, everything is always breaking down. You show me a man with a cattle trailer with every single light functioning and I’ll show you a mystical creature that isn’t real. Unicorns aren’t allowed to drive. It just ain’t how it is in the real world. We are the people who don’t have to worry about anyone stealing a tractor or truck because we’re the only ones who know how to start it. It’s not by design but does add a security feature if you think about it.
Everyone needs to know a guy who knows how to fix stuff. We will all, at one time, have a leaky pipe, a short in a light, or a problem appliance. The random fix-it guy is hard to come by. If you have one of your own, treat them with the respect they deserve. This is going to be, at some time or another, the most important person in your life. When you have water flowing over your floor, or conversely have no water at all, you will do just about anything to get your desperate fix.
The best handymen are the ones who are family members or at least close enough friends that you know they’ll answer when you call. Try to remember to appreciate them and not just text when you need something. I’m sure they grow weary. Heavy is the head that wears the maintenance hat.
Everyone, likewise, at some time needs a lawyer. This is what my oldest son is banking on. Often when you need a lawyer, it’s also a desperate situation. Sure, sometimes, you might just need some document drawn up, but often you need help, and you need it bad. You’re vulnerable and scared, and you would gladly take back that leaky faucet in your own cozy home because a jail cell doesn’t sound inviting at all. If you ever find yourself in this situation, you’ll be hoping you know a good lawyer. Or any lawyer. Someone. Please.
We all have complained about doctor bills at some point, and I am no different, but I have also allowed that it ain’t easy to be a doctor. Besides the years and years and years of expensive school, I know that I am not smart enough to do it myself anyway. When you need a doctor, you might really, really need a doctor. I am privileged to be friends with one myself, and I appreciated his kind, honest advice so much when my dad was sick. When you’re lost and stressed about a family member, or it you’re the one who is sick and feeling bad on top of it, you just need help. You want someone to fix it. Please, doc. Help.
You know who else can help you a lot? A good accountant. The IRS is not a bunch of folks I want to be on a first name basis with. I’ll pay my taxes, but it all seems like some hidden code. Let’s get these guys working on Egyptian hieroglyphics or the Zodiac killer code, maybe for NASA or the Pentagon. If they intimately know tax laws, I want to intimately know them. This is a skill set beyond me, but we need them, because they are perhaps our only line of defense between you and da gubment. Oh, and your bank account. That’s pretty important, too.
Everyone needs to know someone who can cook, sew, and grow things. It’s rare to find someone who is keenly adept at all three, but they’re out there. I would name mine, but I don’t want to give away my secret. It’s like a good fishing hole. If everyone knew, she might be busy when I call her, and then Bonnie Lundy wouldn’t be able to help me. Oops. If I have a canning question or need something repaired beyond a basic hem, she’s my girl.
Everyone needs to know someone who knows how to put up meat. Skin a deer. Make sausage. These are all things I have helped with, but would be hard pressed to do very well on my own. Like…not.
It might not be necessary, but it sure it awesome to know someone who is a good time. The kind of person whose stories and conversation stimulate and entertain. These are the ones who make the rest of the chores worthwhile. I also enjoy knowing local historians. You know, people who know things like why that knob is called Jenny’s, or why that’s called Hungry Holler.
Hopefully we all have someone we can count on for bail money. Or any other crazy emergency. You never know. It’s a pretty short list to count on to answer the phone in the middle of the night…when you’re also asking for a sizeable amount of money. No questions, no judgment, no stipulations. Where are you, and how much do you need?
Keep your friends close and your credit good. We all need a friend with a truck. It’s even better to have one with a tractor. We all need something scraped, cut, removed, plowed, pulled out, moved, or torn down. Sometimes heavy machinery is your best friend. It’s good to know the guy who knows how to start the tractor.
We all need a good friend who can be counted on for honest advice. This is tricky. When folks ask advice, I think they often just want someone to tell them it’s all right to do what they want to do anyway. When folks ask your advice, you run a pretty good shot of making them mad if you are going to be honest, just sayin’. However dot com, a true friend will tell the truth even if it takes the hide off. These truly honest friends are rare. If you have one, be good to them. You need them to tell you when to take your head by the ears and pull it out of your…leaky pipe.
Which brings me back to the handyman. My lawnmower is broken down again. The darn zip-tie didn’t hold. My brother said it wouldn’t. He told me it was a bad idea, but the joke’s on him. I have more zip-ties.
A teacher and mother, Meagan Morehead Bradshaw lives on a farm in Bland County; contact her at email@example.com.