A lot of old sayings, no matter their relevance, have lost cognitive meaning in modern society. For example, I grew up with my elders cajoling me: “A stitch in time saves nine.” And I knew what that meant because my elders taught me how to mend and sew… a skill which seemingly today has fallen almost entirely to disuse, at least as my matriarchs practiced it.
The overarching lesson, of course, was to keep things in good repair; ready to be put to immediate service, because doing so made life (in the big picture) somehow easier.
But the small lessons were multitudinous, coupling abstract dimensions of creative invention with perfected-by-practice mechanical skills — ie: have you ever stitched-up a split crotch?
Today I shared a measure such ‘stitch in time’ reasoning with my youngest daughter, age sixteen. Our task, however, had nothing to do with sewing.
Our weedeater needed a fuel refil. Not a big deal, except neither of us knew the correct mix of oil to add to the gasoline and the person in our household who has routinely attended this duty (my youngest son, age 18) is not in residence with us anymore — thus we now get to learn ‘how to’ <grin>.
And actually, I pretty much know how to do such stuff, at least in the general sense. But I didn’t know the exact oil to fuel ratio to use with this particular piece of equipment, so I called a local dealer of our particular unit and was told the correct mix is 50-to-1.
The oil tells right on the label how much of the product to add to the gas, but the instructions were for 2-gallons of fuel and we have a one-gallon can, so we divided things down to arrive at the fact that we needed to mix 2.6 ounces of oil with one gallon of gas.
So far, this took about half an hour.
Then we looked around the house to find some sort of appropriate ‘scoop’ that was ‘just the right size’ to measure 2.6 ounces and found something that works.
This took another 15 minutes or so.
Finally, we were able to add the oil to the gas, mix it thoroughly, fill the weedwacker and get done what we set out to do…
But first, by attaching the measuring tool and the mixing instructions to the gas can which contains the fuel-oil-mix, we made sure we would not have to spend our time spinning our wheeels looking things up and finding what we need ‘the next time’ the weedwacker runs out of gas, admirably illustrating the premise that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.