Economic Self-Sufficiency

It may be that attaining your own personal economic self-sufficiency is your only hope for surviving the hard times ahead.

| July/August 1981

A friend of ours named David Swift tells the story of how a few years back he came upon a fellow who was in the process of fixing a flat tire. Being a neighborly sort, Swift walked over to offer a hand. And, as he stood politely by waiting for an opportunity to announce his presence, David watched the man—who appeared completely absorbed in his task—go on about his work.

The car was jacked up, and after a moment's confusion as to just how to do so, the gentleman unhooked the lug wrench from the jack, fitted it to the uppermost nut on the wheel, and—with a grunt of effort—heaved on the handle.

There was a sharp crack, and the lug broke clean off. The worker examined the broken piece, scratched his head, probably cursed the car's manufacturer, set the wrench on another nut, and leaned into the job.

When the second lug snapped off, the unfortunate individual sat down hard. He stayed put for a moment—puzzling over the unlikelihood of two bolts shearing off, one after the other—before, with a kind of mute persistence, going back to the chore.

While Swift watched, too amazed to speak, the man went on to snap off the rest of the nuts, not realizing that he was actually just ripping the decorative lugs off his chromed plastic hubcaps!

Now there aren't too many folks who are quite that helpless in the face of today's technology. Most of us, however, to one degree or another, are at the mercy of tools that we don't really understand and can't repair.

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