THE JOY OF DOING IT YOURSELF
Magazine: Popular Mechanics
Date: April 1993
Cover: HOME IMPROVEMENT GUIDE (photograph of Tim Allen on cover)
Author: Tim Allen
"Doing it yourself is an act of creation."
I've always loved POPULAR MECHANICS. Ever since I was a kid I've often dreamed of the predictions promised for the future, though I must confess to a few disappointments. Where are those backyard monorails in tubes? All we have is Amtrak. Or cars that can fly? I guess the American Automobile Association squelched that one. Or how about cities in bubbles? Is Biosphere II the best we can do?
But enough about the future. We're talking about do-it-yourself. I'm a nut about building things. I've always loved the before-and-after process. I'm also a sucker for the makeovers you see on "Home Again With Bob Vila" and "This Old House." Or even the ones you see on "Sally Jesse Raphael," some of those beauty makeovers qualify as home improvements if you ask me.
I think what attracted me to tools in the first place was their possibilities. I mean, they are, in effect, weapons for pacifists. You can't help but get pumped up at the thought of nail guns, ripping routers, pneumatic drills, acetylene torches gouging tips and dado-head buzz saws. Arrgh, arrgh, arrgh!
Experts in psychology and sociology claim that men enjoy building things because they can't have babies. I think that's a pretty good analogy. For the do-it-yourselfer, it's almost a parent-child bond that develops over the course of a project. The difference is that a baby will wake you at 3 am, a do-it-yourself project will keep you awake until 3 am.
Half the fun of building a do-it-yourself project is in the planning and preparation. Drawing up sketches and blueprints, going to the hardware store and the lumberyard -- the twin states of nirvana for D-I-Yers--picking out all the supplies and the raw materials and finally strapping on the toolbelt, the holster of home repair.
As much as I love doing it myself, sometimes the job calls for the big guns -- the guys with the heavy-duty equipment. Still, it's fun to watch them using all that heavy artillery -- cement mixers, back hoes, trenchers, earthmovers, steamrollers. Arrgh!
Just watching these guys in action gives me such a vicarious thrill that I want to jump in and help. But I've learned from personal experience that this can be both dangerous and costly. Besides, professionals usually frown on that sort of thing: "Please take off the drywall stilts, Mr. Allen." "Turn off the steamroller, Mr. Allen." "You're gonna pay for that, buddy!"
All in all, doing it yourself is, in effect, an act of creation, an the phrase "do-it-yourself" has one magic word in it: you. What you build becomes your creation, your baby. Something to think about when you're contemplating using the cheap nails.