Monday, April 13, 2009

One of the eternal questions

I went to college at a place that bills itself as "A Technological University", so lots of my friends from those days are engineers and the like: people with a higher-than-average propensity to build stuff. E.g., I know guys who etch their own circuit boards. I know a guy who was taught how to build a Dobsonian telescope by John Dobson.

One of the questions we've kicked around, is "What's a reasonable household toolkit?"

Yes, every home needs a pair of Vise-Grips - but does every household really need a welding rig? How about a generator? (I can recall helping a friend at school fix his car at the curb; and then his roommate came out to help, carrying TWO toolboxes. He dropped the first: "Wrenches." Then dropped the second toolbox: "Other stuff." Uh, thanks.)

Esquire magazine (of all places) addresses the question this month: "31 Things Every Man Should Own". THEIR list ranges from the obvious to the silly:

Cast-Iron Skillet
Valid Passport
Multipurpose Tool
Waiter's Corkscrew/Bottle Opener/Knife
Cordless Drill
Weekend Shoulder Bag
Giant Wool Blanket Never Removed from the Trunk of the Car
Chain Saw
Work Gloves
Carpenter's Level
Boots for the Shop
Boots for Everywhere Else
Claw Hammer
Chef's Knife
Flying Disc
U.S. Road Atlas
Air Pump
Jumper Cables
Charcoal Grill
Card Holder
Pocket Knife
Lucky Charm
$1,000 Hidden in Your House
LED Flashlight
Money Clip
Joy of Cooking

Well, I suppose it's a start on a list. I'm trying to think if anybody I know owns "a lucky charm". Or if anybody I know here in the snow belt DOESN'T own a pair of boots. Or why a "flying disc" is such a high-priority item (in the Top 31?) Or why they spec a simple "shoulder bag" and not some sort of pre-packed "go kit". Admittedly, it's a general list of "things" and not just "tools", but either way, it seems woefully incomplete.

So, what did they miss?

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At 9:07 AM, Blogger rodfrank said...

First off, this is a list of 32 items. No, you didn't count wongly. Fully four of the items presuposses another apparently essential item, a car. To wit, Blanket (never removed from the car), Jack, Air Pump, and Jumper Cables. Okay, the Air pump could be for your bike, but that's not on the list either.

So kind of like the puzzle with triangles inside triangles where only dolts count the the smallest triangles, there are 32 items (at least) on the list.

And I'm not sure why a I need a lattern AND an LED Flashlight. (Unless of course I'll use the fuel in the lattern to start the fire where I can use my Cast-Iron Skillet and Joy of Cooking.


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