As long as I can remember the ability to Do-It-Yourself or “DIY” has always been an integral part of my life. Raised by parents who suffered through the Great Depression, World War II, two other “wars” and several recessionary economic cycles meant the principles of DIY were a way of life in our household.
The roots of what would become DIY for me were instilled through my family’s devoted following of the 3R’s or Recycle, Reuse & Reduce. From an early age, a driving desire of wanting the latest products thanks to burgeoning advertising in various magazines, periodicals, and broadcast television often met a harsh reality of limited financial resources. The “Mad Men” had done their job on my impressionable young mind, but like the vast majority of households at the time, most purchases were cash only, and extra money went straight into a savings plan. That left the 3R’s and DIY as a means to the endpoint.
My earliest memory is that I wanted a clock in my bedroom. Apparently, I unquestionably liked clocks for reasons unknown but was not getting one unless I did it myself. I had to scour around the house, garage, and neighborhood for discards and spent hours upon hours of tinkering, building and tearing apart to start again. Eventually, this collection of discards transformed into what one would call in a politically correct term, a unique timepiece. Granted I was 4-years old at the time, so my parents turned a blind eye on the completed design, but I finally had a working bedroom clock.
As I matured the projects became larger, faster, and more complex as I built or assembled everything from wire controlled toy tanks made from old batteries, can opener motors, pellet guns and scrap metals to an “overclocked” Amana Radar Range. Thanks to a loving father who always had an obsessively passionate desire to make everything from planes and motorcycles to cars go faster with a MacGyver like manner the number of DIY projects around the house never ceased.
This was especially true of automobiles, and one of our most memorable DIY projects was building a jaw dropping Hot Rod from a $25 junker we spent an afternoon pushing to our home much to an armadillo’s dismay. Thanks to all of the wonderful and at times slightly weird DIY projects, portions of our home or garage ended up damaged but thankfully never destroyed, and the same held true for us thanks to divine intervention or pure dumb luck.
Of course, none of this yet answers why I delved into PC DIY with a blinding fury after spending my early years primarily working on projects with wheels. That answer along with a few tips and tricks I have learned over the years is coming. However, the whole exploration, learning and ultimately successful completion of creating something that was greater than the sum of its parts provided the confidence to make DIY a way of life for me.