Lifestyle

Macca’s Useless Info: We’ve put up fences too big to lean over and ask a mate for advice

When I was growing up my dad had a broad range of mates when it came to expertise. He had mates who were chippies, mates who were sparkies, mates who were accountants; a mate for pretty much everything. I’ve set myself up the same way.

Like dad, I do most things myself; I like the self-satisfaction of completing something I didn’t know I could do but was able to accomplish by calling on a mate or three for advice. “Hey Robbo, does red go with red or red with black?” You know what I mean? We just get stuff done, no mucking about with qualifications and stuff, that’s why you choose mates who have them.

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It’s also why we were taught to test things so if we did it wrong we wouldn’t get hurt. You know, back of the hand in case it’s hot, always wear rubber thongs when doing electrical work-safety first, cobber. Anyway, I guess OH&S made a lot of these normal DIY activities taboo because now there’s not a lot you can do without a qualification. We live in fear of some government body every time we need to run power to a mate’s new shed.

Over the last 30 years or so we have slowly stopped doing things ourselves and started paying someone else to do it because they had the qualifications to do it ‘safely’. This phenomenon has driven some funny outcomes. For instance, my mate Kenny the mechanic who I ring when I break a car now calls himself a “technician” which means he can charge the rest of you another 30 bucks an hour, wow.

The trouble with living in the world where the plumber has become what I call a “turd surgeon” because he works with crap all day and charges like a doctor is that we have successfully bred a generation that’s useless. No one has that group of mates that’s teachers, or no one spends time with kids encouraging them to do things for themselves. Maybe they can hook up an Xbox but changing a wheel would be a challenge for most.

The network of helpful mates has evolved, we now have the ‘new and improved version’. We now use the power of social media when we need a hand. Seriously, how the hell have people become so lost? Some of the questions I see asked on Facebook and the answers delivered make me shudder. Everyone’s an expert on everything, everyone’s taking advice from “experts” they wouldn’t know from a bar of bloody soap and taking it as gospel. How did we get here?

My advice? If you’re looking to social media for technical help, go out and make some friends. Friends with different skills to you, share knowledge with those you know and trust and watch your genuine social network grow while you have a lot of fun.

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