D.I.Y. Culture: Americans Build Stuff Themselves

Are you handy at building or repairing things?  Some Americans are, and some are not.  However, there is a general feeling among Americans that they can (and should) be able to do basic fixing and building jobs around the home.

My friend Phil

My friend Phil

Disclaimer: I am not a fully handy person like my good friend Phil.  I can do painting, rough carpentry, and landscaping.  Phil, on the other hand, knows finish carpentry, does electrical wiring and plumbing, and has many other installation skills.  He also owns tools that I don't even know the names of.

A few summers ago, Phil helped me put new shingles on the roof of our shed.  I mostly watched and assisted, but in the process, I learned some things about shingling.  Now I am more confident about trying it myself in the future.

When my wife and I got a new puppy last year, some of my students were surprised to learn that I built Gladys's kennel myself.  This short slideshow shows the steps necessary to build a dog kennel and is meant to give you a glimpse of American do-it-yourself culture.  Write to let us know if it inspires you to take on a project!

(An earlier blog post on DIY culture can be found here.)

Alan Headbloom

Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and expats how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture. Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. Visit his website for information on consulting, coaching, or speaking engagements.