Staplers, sewing machines have no place in the future


Joyce Walter reflects on abbreviations and DIY projects.

Sometimes in my sheltered life I have missed out on knowing certain customs and abbreviations that are now commonly used by anyone over the age of six.

It took me years to figure out what BOGO meant in the point of sale or in one of those unsolicited catalogs. In my aging mind, I thought it might be a new brand of jeans or underwear, but I couldn’t remember hearing about the company that might compete with Levi’s or Stanfield.

So I continued in the dark until I heard of a local store having a BOGO sale and the writer helpfully provided the definition: “Buy one, get one” for those of between us who don’t go out much anymore. Once I knew the meaning, the letter combination made perfect sense and I stopped checking clothing labels.

It didn’t take me that many months to understand the meaning of DIY. At first I took it to mean “Don’t get hurt”. It seemed appropriate when it appeared in discussions of home improvement or craft projects involving glue guns and electric staplers.

But then a helpful guy called Google explained in detail that DIY actually means “do it yourself”. In most cases it’s used for the previously mentioned home improvement plans, but I’ve heard of injuries with staplers, so it could definitely apply to craft projects.

Because I grew up in a DIY house, I was a bit ashamed that the letters hadn’t connected sooner, without a computer giving me the scoop.

Both of my parents were handymen. After searching my long-term memory, I can only remember two times when Dad had someone come over to help with some chores. He could have done both himself, but he had to follow certain building codes in the house he and a friend bee had built.

So he brought in an electrician friend from a nearby town to check the wiring and make the necessary adaptations. I don’t know if the money changed hands, but I know the friend would have eaten there.

The second help came when the village made infrastructure improvements to allow indoor plumbing, with toilet flushes and running water taps that did not come from the cistern. My mom’s cousin came over from Rugby, ND to help with this project. He received room and board, gas for his truck, and was the first to christen the new flush toilets. He may also have received some money.

Apart from these two occasions, the parents continued the DIY life, their children also learning some life skills.

The ones I would have liked to have mastered are sewing, dressmaking, knitting, darning and other similar activities. If I had such DIY skills, I would be able to operate a sewing machine without getting my finger caught under the needle. I would be able to knit a scarf without holes and I could even embroider a T-towel with even stitches and without knots.

More importantly, I could shorten my own pants without using tape and paperclips. And those long, long sleeves on jackets and blouses would be neatly modified without the bulge of the extra fabric being up or under.

The other day I came across a video showing how, with just a few stitches placed appropriately, then slightly pulled with a bit of puckering, the sleeves magically tightened and would be just the right length at the wrist. I was so intrigued that I thought maybe I could handle this DIY project.

When I later tried to watch the video, it had been changed to someone using a sewing machine to effortlessly install a zipper in ripped knee jeans.

So, with no Do It Yourself projects likely to invade my future, perhaps my personal interpretation of DIY should read, “Don’t Interrupt Yellowstone.”

Joyce Walter can be reached at [email protected]

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.


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