I know a guy

 Is the replace not repair big store anonymous employees world we live a good model for us as a culture? Yes, prices are low, the selection is immense, & convenience is king. What of the minimized or entirely missed opportunities to make and grow personal connections, to learn about others?

I grew up in the “I know a guy” family. You repaired your car; changed your oil. You went to see Duck at the autoparts store. He did body work on the side too. If you needed something welded, you went Sipple’s. You went to Silverglade’s for cheese and Bolte’s for coffee and exotic spices. No, it was not always quick, yet it became a bit of an adventure in itself. If these guys didn’t have it, they “knew a guy” who would. If you needed if fast, well more adventure ensued as you set off to find what you needed.

Geniuses replace our electronics. Store get bigger and buy other stores. Or we avoid stores and order online. Again, I get it, low price, selection, and convenience. Where is the adventure? The stores I mentioned above were frequented monthly and often weekly. We knew who worked there. I learned of their families, their challenges, and could even get inspired. Jim, of Bolte’s, had a Solidarność, Polish trade union, connection. He told stories and handed out buttons. Who doesn’t love a rebellion against oppression story? Loosely put, we were collaborators. They gave us items we needed which we used for our families. We then went on to create our own stories.

Connections are messy, yet a good story though entertains forever. What do you value? In a world of fake news, comic book adaptations, sequels, reboots, we need our own adventures to tell. Can’t repair your own phone, prepare your own food. Frustrated by personal and public transport, design a better option. Youtube videos all the same, create a better one. Don’t own any quality tools, get to Sears before they go bankrupt.  Be a flexible problem solver. I understand; life is hard, money needs to stretch, convenience trumps most everything, and we all feel entitled. My point, take action. Get out there, whether real or virtual, connect and collaborate.  Create your own stories, learn more about yourself, and make new acquaintances. More important, tell your stories, entertain and inspire others. Be “the guy” others know and call when they need help.

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