Is this a Screwdriver I see before Me?


Had a call from my eldest brother a year or so back regarding a power shower pump which I installed in his home about fifteen years ago. He was moaning on about how it didn’t work, and there was just this noise from, quote “The round thing” which of course was the pump motor, and what should he be doing? He is functionally mechanically illiterate! This is a quirk of nature in mankind which should, I believe, be the subject of an intellectual study, funded by Government, to establish once and for all why large proportions of the male British population are so thick when it comes to anything mechanical, or electrical for that matter!

I once worked on a construction site in London as part of the Engineering team, and after spending all night on site, had a shower in the site office bathroom to clean up before getting back into my office. Now the team was comprised of seven civil engineers, two civil technicians and myself, trained in the dark arts of electrical and mechanical engineering, so there wasn’t a shortage of actual mental capacity or intellect on site! As I said, when I got under the shower, I found I had to twist around and shuffle about to actually get any water to flow over my body, as the head was almost totally clogged with limescale, and the jets went everywhere but down! Wrapped a towel around my body, located a scrubbing brush and cleaned the shower head, taking a total of about forty seconds to produce the desired effect, which was a firm directed spray of hot water. When my boss, who himself was a senior civil engineer, had a shower later, he asked me what I had done to, I quote, “fix the shower as quickly as that?” Now this is a man who was part of the Channel Tunnel supervisory team, and a good theoretical engineer, but just didn’t understand that everything requires routine maintenance! Returning to my eldest brother, his exploits in the world of D.I.Y. are legendary in our family; such as the proud boast that he had changed the batteries in his doorbell, and it only took him two hours! The first job he took when in London was that of a cost clerk in a garage. They had him in the workshop, supposedly to get him up to speed with the jobs and terminology of car servicing, but this collapsed when it took him three hours to work out how to operate a pair of vise-grips! After trying for about three hours, he and his best mate could not succeed in setting up his video-recorder, a job which I completed in ten minutes flat! Once I repaired his electric fire, renewing the element and replaced the chrome cover; total time for job was around fifteen minutes. He said that he had done it before, and he couldn’t understand why he had taken four hours! He had been living in his house for ten years before I got his downstairs radiator to heat up correctly, a job which took all of fifteen minutes, by balancing the other radiators on the system. My other brother loaned him a car, and he took four hours, plus the amalgamated attention of twelve sets of neighbours, before failing to attach the supplied steering-wheel locking device! His finest utterance was on the subject of wine; he had been persuaded to buy a different brand of booze at the supermarket, and he had tried to get the cork out of the bottle for twenty-seven minutes before learning that the bottle had a screw-top!He is family, and despite our well-known disputes about politics, we get along fairly well, but even he admits that it does annoy him a little when I have hysterics at the very idea of my eldest brother lifting a screwdriver!

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