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Archive for Friday, November 20, 2009

Net Worth: Failed handymen the subject of visual mockery on Web

"Ahhh, Air Conditioning" from There, I Fixed It.

"Ahhh, Air Conditioning" from There, I Fixed It.

November 20, 2009

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I’m not good at fixing things. Sure, I can set up a home stereo system or program a VCR, but tasks that fall into the “handyman” realm are a continual mystery.

I’m always amazed when friends tell me how they just installed a bathroom sink or retiled the kitchen floor or replaced a ceiling fan. Sounds hard ... and dangerous. Can’t relate.

Since I’m not rolling in lucre, however, I am occasionally obligated to attempt lesser home repairs. They generally are solved by one of three methods: more nails, some duct tape or a squirt of Krazy Glue.

An ode to this same mindset can be found on a new Web site called There, I Fixed It. Pictures from around the nation pay tribute to kludges — a term first coined in a 1962 issue of Datamation Magazine as “an ill-assorted collection of poorly matching parts, forming a distressing whole.”

There, I Fixed It explains, “Whether the source of the word is Gaelic, German or naval acronym, we know them when we see them, and on this Web site, we celebrate these iconic images of mankind’s eternal struggle to hammer square pegs into round holes (with duct tape).”

Can’t figure out how to mount a flat screen TV on your wall? Check out the ingenuity of one contributor who simply nails a 2-by-4 to the end of a bed and deposits the device on top of it.

That towel rack in your restaurant bathroom keeps breaking? That’s remedied by stabbing a plumber’s helper on the mirror and sliding a roll of paper towels on the bent handle.

Cars seem to be the items most ripe for getting kludged. The photos on the site almost always seem to be taken from another motorist’s perspective — usually from the front or side window, as if the atrocity were spotted while in transit.

Among the gems are a busted taillight “fixed” by fastening a piece of cardboard painted to look like the taillight. Or a convertible — sans ski rack — in which the owner solves that problem by shoving a pair of skis vertically into a bucket propped on the vehicle’s tow ball. Or a Lincoln Continental sporting a home air-conditioning unit moored to the backseat window. If you’re wondering where the appliance finds its electricity, that would be courtesy of the gasoline-powered generator bolted to the trunk.

And who can top the simplicity of mounting a rear license plate by “permanently” slapping it between the rear windshield and the rear windshield wiper?

That ought to fix it.

— Entertainment editor Jon Niccum explores facets of pop culture that have established a unique niche on the Internet. He can be reached at 832-7178.

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