An awesome amount of ineptitude and ignorance

So I go out for breakfast the other morning.

In the parking lot of the diner is a lady standing by her car with a jack under the left front tire.

I asked if she needed any help

Apparently the rust had gotten under the wheel nut cover and had swelled it such that the lung wrench would not fit onto the wheel nut.

I offered to pull out some sockets from my truck and pull off the offending nut, but she said her son had gone to the local Home Improvement store to buy the proper socket wrench and would be back soon. She thanked me for my offer of help and I went in to have breakfast. If she had help coming, fine, I won’t leave a woman on the side of the road helpless, but she said she had it in hand, so…..

I ate a leisurely breakfast, and when I came out of the diner and she and her car are still there. As is a 25 year old or so man. He looks exasperated and was doing something with a tool in one hand.

I amble over and see that he is trying to pry a socket off of the ratchet handle with a screwdriver..

I go over and ask if he need any help. Apparently he had put the wrong size socket on the ratchet handle and now could not get it off. He had tried prying with a screwdriver, but no joy. (Note that this was a brand new store brand socket and ratchet set). I reached out, took the ratchet from him, pushed the button on the back of the ratchet and the socket fell right off. Dude was shocked, he had no idea that that was how it worked.

I decided to stick around for a minute. He put the now correct socket onto the ratchet handle, and tried to move the nut. Nope, on there pretty tight. He tried to  step on it (at least he had some idea of what was needed) but the socket slipped.

I took the wrench from him, pulled the jack out, put it under the head of the ratchet, and pushed down with my foot. Boom, one loosened nut. Again, he was dazzled by my knowledge….I used a hammer (from my tools) on the end of his ratchet on one other stubborn nut to get it to turn.

He was worried about the fact that she might not get home with a missing lug nut, but I pointed out that there were 4 others to hold the spare tire on, and he could always tighten the swelled up nut and use it again since he now had the correct socket and the knowledge to use it….

He was unsure how to reverse the direction of the ratchet, so I showed him that as well.

Dude was well over 20 years old and had no knowledge of how to use basic hand tools.

Looking at his mother, it is obvious that she “didn’t need a man in her life”, and likely raised him by herself.

Sad….really, really, sad. I knew more when I was 12 than this dude knows at twice that age.

I made sure the tire was installed correctly and suggested that maybe he look at all the lug nuts and replace those that were swelled (or maybe all of them)….. Plus maybe use a bit of oil on the threads when he out them back on himself… He said he “didn’t have any oil”. I suggested he could buy some and an oil can. Or they could have a professional look at it and do the work.

How does a boy get to be that age and not have basic knowledge of hand tools? I can understand no Dad, but did he and his friends never do anything besides play video games? I find it frightening that he had zero knowledge of basic tools.


12 thoughts on “An awesome amount of ineptitude and ignorance

  1. my brother-in-law is a copy of this clueless guy
    my father (an old self trained good mechanic) — just rolls his eyes

    I once asked him how things go fixed when he was growing up– he said either mom or dad picked up the phone and called “someone”.

    somehow, they exist and thrive out there

  2. “…but did he and his friends never do anything besides play video games?”

    Thereabouts is your answer, being the at the answer to that question is probably “Yes.” I often see the epitome of the modern “man” leaning against his car with the spare tire and jack laying on the ground next to him, waiting on AAA to change the tire! Yeah, if you’re in a suit and tie, on the way to a big meeting, I can see that. Thing is, I see VERY FEW of them wearing suits…

    What a difference a generation made! I STILL remember being five years old and getting a “Handy Andy” toolbox! Not long after that, like, weeks later, my dad saw that I actually COULD use tools and WANTED to use tools, and put together a REAL toolbox for me with some of his older stock. My friends and I started cobbling together pieces of wood, which ultimately led to several tree houses, and even a serviceable flatboat. We started working on our bikes. Then we started BUILDING bikes from trashed parts. It went on and on from there, to lawnmowers, to outboard motors, to minibikes, to cars. And hell; we did all this BEFORE YOUTUBE! The thought of being without a good set of tools gives me the same feeling as the thought of losing an arm!

    …To this day, I see one of those modern men leaning against a car and say “What a pussy…” I just can’t help it…

    It’s not just men raised by “single moms” though. I have three sons. Yeah, all three can change a tire and do minor maintenance on their cars, but only one of the three took it any farther than that. And guess what; that one sent next to NO time on line… So there y’go…

  3. Hm….(oh boy, calm down, breath…) Sorry, but today wasn’t a good day to read that missive. Had an interaction with another one of “those bois” today.
    Sigh. I’m thinking that he didn’t have a male in the house. I know I’m really reaching with that estimation; but these days it’s more true than not.
    People are beginning to decry the feminist movement and the destruction it wrought on young girls. But I would posit that the destruction is equally shared by the young males in society.

    • My neighbors, a woman and her mother who are …single for a REASON, have two sons, around 21-22-years-old. The way those “guys” act; the way they move, the way they talk, the way they interact; You can just TELL they were raised by women alone… SO wrong…

  4. I had a housemate with zero skills – even after buying his first house at age 50. Thing is, his 2 yr old grandson had been coming to visit every weekend, and that kid followed my every move! One Sunday morning while I was on the phone with my Mom, he grabbed the screwdriver from my tool box and removed all the screws from my piano stool – just trying to see how they worked. He turned 9 recently, and I still can’t turn my back on him, for fear of my butt hitting the ground.

  5. Shop class is no longer an option at many high schools. If a kid isn’t tought basic skills at home they have no chance to learn them. I tried to teach my daughters such fundamentals but they weren’t terribly interested. Fortunately they both married men whose job is to maintain things in factories. One worry I longer have.

  6. Sigh… anymore this is the ‘norm’ rather than the exception.

  7. Did he get the pronouns right?
    Maybe the proper tool was racist/sexist so he had to use the more inclusive screwdriver?
    Just last week saw some joggers at the Auto Zone trying to get the spare off, drove several miles away to strip mall and they were still out there trying to remove it about 30 minutes later.

  8. “In the Land of the Blind, the One-Eyed man is King.”

    If, or When, the SHTF, it will be interesting to see, not “what” happens, because we already know, but “how much.” (And “SHTF” doesn’t have to be societal, obviously a simple flat tire qualifies…).

    I’ve had to teach “Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty” to so many people…..I’d feel better about it if I didn’t also have to explain “Lefty” and “Righty” as well.

    Anon 2

  9. Watch Gran Torino.
    Asian kid in movie is nearly every current American kid from 16-35.
    No tools. No clue.
    The 2% who fall outside the circle don’t matter, compared to the other 98%.
    Asian kid is the outlier insofar as he’s actually willing to get a job and learn what he doesn’t know.

    Most kids now have no male parent all the way to h.s graduation, just a sperm donor father (or serial iterations of one), and they haven’t taught shop class in high school in years most places. So who would they learn such basics from? Bob Vila??

    You’re lucky if 5% of them can mentally grasp the concept of changing light bulbs when the old ones burn out.

    No one, let alone an entire generation, could possibly be that stupid.
    Au contraire. They can, and they are. And you’ve now seen it with your own eyes.

    I spent 15 years at ren faires teaching newbs year after year the basics of hand tools and simple power tools to hammer and screw-build simple structures that wouldn’t fall apart and injure someone for two months at a time, and it got worse year over year. Some few of them, God bless ’em, would show up their 2d season with their own tool belts, bags, and tools. Most of them, we were happy if they could at least remember work gloves and eye pro.

    For 98% of the population that doesn’t ever work with their hands, neither for employment nor hobby, it’s just not a priority in their lives.
    They are the Eloi, and probably always will be.

  10. My wife was visiting her daughter and son-in-law (in NYC). During the visit on s drive the oil light came on in the daughters car. I got a call asking what to do. I asked to speak to the SIL. He explained that he never put oil in a car before and suggested a YouTube video might explain it to him.

    It seems this was always taken care of at Jiffylube and he had no idea where to get oil or what to do with it.

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