Genes being what they are, it may be that we inherit more from our parents than we realize. Among others, I inherited the tinker gene from my father.
Childhood for me and my brothers was somewhat normal. Lower middle class, small town, church on Sunday. There wasn’t much extra money, but we had clothes, toys, bikes, a car, a washer and dryer, and every now and then, air conditioning.
Dad may have inherited the tinker gene from his father. Regardless, my father was and remains a tinkerer. When things broke, he fixed them. It didn’t matter what they were, or whether he knew anything about what was broken. He tinkered around until it was fixed.
He fixed the refrigerator when it broke. He fixed a broken transmission in the car. Anything that broke, he fixed. His rules were basic. Take it apart slowly, remember where all the pieces went, find something that looks broken, put it back together again, and hope there were no extra parts.
Those are pretty much the rules I use today when I tinker, which is often. There is one difference. Dad’s generation tinkered with household appliances, cars, lawn mowers, electrical wiring, furnaces, and so on.
I tinker with computers.
Like my father, I’m mostly self taught, having become involved with computing back in the very early 1980s. I bought an Osborne 1 which ran CP/M, SuperCalc, WordStar, and dBase II on 64k of memory, dual floppy drives, and a 9-inch black and white screen.
Dad is far better at figuring out what is wrong with a car or furnace or a boat engine or a washer and dryer. But I know who to call when they break. When one of my computers goes on the fritz I may not know exactly what to do right away, but there’s the age old process of elimination which is a good start on the road to recovery.
Things are tough to fix if you don’t know what’s broken, but the tinker gene makes it an adventure.
These days I run a handful of computer servers at home, and manage half a dozen more elsewhere. Not only do I handle the computer system administrator functions, I create and manage plenty of content for various web sites.
It all started with the tinker gene. Thanks, Dad.