Nothing sadder than a broken electrical appliance

Coronavirus! There I said it, but I won’t be writing about it. I usually write things that might make you smile or remember a fond memory. There’s nothing funny about the virus. Stay well, my friends. So here’s more of the old stuff. Hope you enjoy it!

There are few things in life that I find sadder than a broken down or worn out electrical appliance. They usually began life as a shiny new techno thing that is costly and fascinating. You didn’t notice it was getting older until it stopped working.

The problem I have with them then is what to do with them, an old piece of jewelry or furniture might have some antique value. A 40 or 50 year old car or truck still has some value even if it isn’t running. A 15 or 20 year old television set that doesn’t work will cost you money to dispose of.

My electric drill stopped working last week. I’ve had it about 20 years. I got it at Sears and it has served me well. If it was a socket wrench, Sears would give me a new one if it broke, they really stood behind their hand tools, if only I could find a Sears store. The electric tools were another matter, I’m sure the salesman would have laughed if I tried to turn the drill in and ask for a new one. It was expensive as tools go and the idea of getting it repaired flashed through my mind but search as I might, the Yellow Pages had nothing listed under “Drill Repairs.” I thought of taking it apart to see if I could fix it. I like taking things apart. I do it on a fairly regular schedule. I’m afraid that my track record for failure is impressive. I do have a rather large collection of coffee cans full of various screws, bolts and other fasteners as a result of years of appliance demolition.

The disemboweled appliance loses the ability to hold my attention shortly after I admit to myself that I have no idea what’s wrong with it or how to fix it. My usual tact is to walk away and have a little ponder about how to solve the problem. A day or two later I go back to the shop and need to do something that requires using the work bench which is still covered in appliance guts. I usually scoop up the bits and pieces, find an empty coffee can, plop them inside, label the lid as to what bits and pieces are reside in there and add the can to the stack occupying the back of the bench.

I then slide the main carcass to the side where it resides for a month or so until I get tired of working around it. The fatally wounded appliance then goes to its final resting place, under the bench, remember, it’s too good to throw out and I may be able to figure out how to fix it one of these days.

I carefully tucked the remains of my faithful friend, the drill under the work bench where it now resides with an electric can opener, a reel to reel tape player, two eight track tape players, a portable record player, a weed whacker, two and a half vacuum cleaners, an electric tooth brush, a Beta Max video player, half a dozen lamps and a remote controlled car or two. None of them work but all of them have potential, they’re too good to throw out and even if I can’t repair them, I may some day need them to provide parts for something I can repair if I just have the parts I need. Yep! Nothing sadder than a broken down worn out electrical appliance.

Thought for the week — Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach Dick Brooks at

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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