Who needs wrenches? There are plenty of rags

Editor’s note: While Burt is out taking a nap, we are making do with this Cole Classic that originally ran May 14, 2000.

Making do is one of the things I do best. There is no reason to invest the time, money and effort required to do a project the so-called “right way” when “making do for now” gets a thing accomplished with far less frustration.

Take, for example, the leaky kitchen faucet. What it needs is replacement of a gasket, a little tightening at the connections or possibly a whole new faucet outfit. I’m not sure which. Until I get a moment to find out, I am making do with a temporary fix.

I took a wash rag, folded it twice, set it on the divider between the two sinks, then aimed the faucet overtop the rag. At that thickness, it pretty well muffles the drip-drip-drip sound that crashes through the night.

I’ve been making do with that just fine the last two or three years. It leaves me free to fix the faucet just as soon as I can … when there isn’t something better to do.

Making do makes life easier. It is nothing for me to make do temporarily with the same pair of dress shoes for months after they have become “air conditioned.” True, the washrag trick so handy with the faucet doesn’t work so well at plugging leaks in shoes, but then I make do with wearing my much more comfortable sneakers with my suit, the same one I’ve been wearing for five years now through a variety of personal size changes.

Making do has saved me from hours of torture in clothing stores. That way, I can save my shopping trips for more worthwhile causes, such as a burger and Coke.

A couple weeks ago, I found a discontinued, scratched and dented sound system on sale at a department store. It isn’t the fanciest stereo outfit around, but will make do until I can afford the kind that will knock down walls with a simple twist of the volume button.

So I packed the orphaned outfit into the trunk of my car and took it home. My new stereo features something called surround sound. To make it work, the rear speakers need to be mounted on the wall on the far side of the living room. Some day, I intend to buy those little doodads for hanging electronics wire in place. Until then, I’ll make do with what I had on hand — Scotch tape.

I will replace the chunks of Scotch tape dotting my living room ceiling with the proper electronic wire clips, just as soon as there’s nothing more pressing to do. First I have to do something about the car mirror.

I am happy to report that my experimentation with the technology of break-off mirrors proved successful. When I happened to brush the side of the door backing out of the garage one day, the passenger side mirror snapped right off without damaging the door. It just swung there, hanging by the electronic adjustment cable, smacking the side of the car as I bounced along.

As a temporary fix, I flipped the dangling mirror through the open window, and rolled up the window so the mirror wouldn’t flop back out. It is no longer a nuisance to me. Sure, it slaps passengers on the knee, but it is not a nuisance to me.

So I am making do for now with the discomfort of my passengers until I raise enough money that isn’t needed for a thicker rag. I can hear the faucet dripping again.

Until you get around to writing a letter to Cole, you can make do with an e-mail to burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or www.burtonwcole.com.


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