Stevieslaw: My March Voices Column

DIY* or DYI**

By the time Smokey’s second engine seized up, she had already saved $138.17 by pumping her own gas. I suppose it would be fair to also count the money she saved on oil, since she never checked it. Her car seized up on the Van Wyck Expressway at 4:45 PM on Wednesday. Do you know the Van Wyck? It runs through Queens, in NYC, more or less connecting JFK and LaGuardia. Let me just say that it wasn’t until the following Sunday morning that anyone, including the passenger, me, knew that the car had permanently stopped moving.

Americans have been pumping their own gas for some time now. They are bagging their own groceries. But they are doing so much more than that. They are putting in kitchens and bathrooms and decks. There are at least 60 TV shows on obscure networks promoting DIY. The movement has caught fire in America, and I, as a true blue American would like to ask a simple question. Are you all nuts?

Do you remember the pimply faced teen with red hair that spent all of high school reading Popular Mechanics Magazines? Yes, the one who in tenth grade knew enough about electricity to build the midget Ouidin Tesla coil that had every girls’ hair standing straight up in the kind of shocked look normally reserved for comic book heroes. You are not that guy. Remember Orr in Catch-22? He patiently took apart and put back together a stove that seemed to have a million parts so that Yossarian would be warm in the winter. You are not Orr either.

Perhaps some numbers might help. Nearly half of all Americans with DIY decks have no way to get to them. Another forty one percent report feeling sea-sick after spending more than 20 minutes on their deck. Bathrooms? Most DIY bathrooms have been constructed without a drain pipe to sewer or septic. When asked, most Americans will simply shrug and talk evasively of invasive government regulations. Kitchens? Forget diets, DIY kitchens have the only significant correlation with the obesity epidemic, as those who build them about 400 times more likely to eat fast food three times a day. Finally, because of do-it-yourself projects, Americans are twice as likely as the rest of the world to have their last word be “oops.”

But you aint heard nothing yet. The future of DIY is in the medical industry. Doctors and researchers have been talking about patient specific medicine for years. Think about it. No two spleens are alike, and who better to treat your very specific body part than you. We predict a huge expansion of Lowe’s and Home Depot in the very near future. And other new DIY superstores with names like Shots-R-Us and Scalpel City are already in the works… Confused? Now the Less-intelligent-than-average American Guide series presents “Cut Here,” the future of DIY. In LAG you will learn that:

1. If you have an infection, culturing your own bacteria and creating your very own antibiotic is child’s play. Remember that Alexander Fleming found penicillin by accident. How hard could that be? Get the equipment you need at SpoorsGaloresStores.

2. If you have a toothache, you will find that doing your own dentistry is mostly a matter of having the right equipment— a battery powered high rpm drill, some stainless steel probes in odd and evil looking shapes, and a reclining chair that can move in 18 directions simultaneously. Remember that dentists are just people who couldn’t make it in medical school. How smart do you need to be to flunk out of school? My brother did it six times and he was not that smart. Get your dental supplies at DrillandFillLDT.

3. Need a knee or hip replacement? Your neighbor’s large dog has four of them. Not for you? PartingwithParts will sell you a knee or hip in plastic, hard wood or titanium, as a kit that you mold, whittle or weld. You get it to fit right the old fashioned way, by trial and error.

4. Need some minor surgery. Child’s play! No. We really mean you should have your children do it. What better way for them to becomes the medical self-help DIY’ers of the future? It will keep them off the streets and away from the TV as well. And think what they will be able to share at show and tell. Tools are available at TheCutandPasteShoppe.

5. Squeamish about major surgery? Who wouldn’t be, what with the long trip to the medical center, the wait in an uncomfortable gown among all those sick people, the blinking lights and endless beeping, the high paid doctors and nurses all creepy in white? . Instead, have your friends over, order some pizzas and a case of beer and make a weekend over the abdominal or brain surgery. You can get your detailed cancer surgery instructions on line at OutDamnSpotInc or instructions on removing an appendix at CuthereNotThere.

There is so much more in the guide. You will learn, for example, just where to buy your “gently used” essential medical equipment. How to put 911 on looped auto dial. Or how to make the emergency responders actually believe you did “that” to yourself.

Become a responsible “tea-partier.” Dispense with the freedom restricting need for a practitioner’s license. Get rid of the mismanaged government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. When it comes to health care, DIY.

*Do ItYourself

** Do Yourself In

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