Let’s Talk with James M. Jackson

The Right Tool for the Job

by James M. Jackson

Growing up, I learned everything my father could teach me about repairs, which is to say almost nothing. Dad was a classical absent-minded professor, much more interested in ideas than in fixing stuff. Because I had a habit of breaking windows (boys will be boys), I did learn how to replace panes of glass, and he made sure I could change tires on a car. Otherwise, I had no clue.

One difference between my father and me is he lived in or near cities; I live fifteen miles from where you can buy anything and twenty-five miles from a grocery or hardware store. Over the years I have learned to fix a variety of things, and the key, I’ve found, is that there is a right tool for every job. With the right tool, the job (generally) goes well; with the almost right tool, the air turns blue.

This late-in-life learning I’ve discovered applies widely. Cooks have a multitude of specialty tools. Even with my writing, I recently discovered the ProWritingAid program to help spot issues with my novel drafts. How about you, what’s your latest favorite tool?

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Comments

  1. My husband is also the “hire someone” type of guy. It’s finding the right person for the job that can be difficult. My favorite tool lately is a Swiss Army mini knife that I keep in my purse. You never know when you might break a nail and need the little scissors or file.

    • When I retired, the folks at work knew I loved being in the outdoors and so chipped in to buy me a Tiffany’s Swiss Army Knife — it lives in its Tiffany blue cloth bag safely stored in my car where it is used with some frequency.

  2. My all-time favorite tool is duct tape. I can fix anything with duct tape. However, I often fall into the role of the assistant fixer and there’s nothing like a truly bright flashlight. I pretty much apply duct tape and bright light to my rough drafts too…

    • James M Jackson says

      We too have Duct Tape and we both sport head lamps (very useful when walking outside under the trees in the dark when there the only lighting is the Milky Way).

  3. My newest household “tool” is my Instant Pot. I live high in the mountains and having a pressure cooker means I can cook things like dried beans, rice and grains. Plus, it’s a ‘set it up and walk away’ device, so I no longer boil things all over the stove.

  4. It’s not the latest, but it is certainly my best tool for writing — Scrivener. it’s the best word processing program I found for Pantsers like me, who can’t plot or write in a straight line to save our lives.

  5. Allyson A. says

    Very inventive with the tools to keep the post straight! My tool has to be the step stool, that I keep under the sink. I’m far to old to be climbing cupboards to get things, like I did in my youth 😊

  6. The picture comes from when we were cementing a gate post into the ground and needed to keep it in place while the concrete dried and used the tools available.