Even I don't always agree with my opinion


The Cord Alone Is Worth A Quarter

Posted May 28, 2008 by jim young in Lifestyle

– jim young

I once saw the comedian Louie Anderson talking about how frustrated he would get taking his mother to garage sales. His mother would buy a broken toaster she didn’t need for 25 cents saying, “The cord alone is worth a quarter.”

This struck a cord with me (pun intended) as it reminded me so much of my late father. Not that Dad would go to garage sales to buy broken appliances just for the cord – he had plenty of those at home in his workshop.

Broken toasters, electric kettles, record players and even old waffle irons lined the shelves in Dad’s workshop for as long as I can remember. When asked why he kept these broken items Dad would reply, “for parts” even though they rarely got used for parts.

And while I admit I’m not the handy man my father was, is there really any part of a broken electric kettle or waffle iron that can be used to repair another broken kettle or waffle iron?

Except for maybe the cord.

And when an old appliance would finally get tossed – out would come the pliers and off would come the power cord first. Dad never owned wire cutters. Why bother with wire cutters when pliers would do the trick just as well?

The power cord was then neatly folded and tied together with the loose end to be hung on Dad’s pegboard with the hundreds of other power cords rescued from all the other appliances that had been previously discarded.

There were power cords in Dad’s collection that measured in length from a few inches to a few feet. There were 2 pronged plugs (polarised and non-polarised) and 3 pronged plugs. Cords that were covered in plastic and older ones covered in cloth.

These power cords were not sorted on the hooks on the pegboard in any particular order of wire gauge, length or plug type.

Dad never bothered with those kinds of trivial details. If an otherwise working appliance needed a new power cord, Dad just selected the first one he grabbed and spliced it to the old cord.

On occasion Dad might use marettes to splice the wires together but more often than not – the ends of the wires were simply twisted together and bound with electrical tape.

I hope you have not come to the incorrect conclusion that I am making fun of one of my father’s little idiosyncrasies.

There is no single person that I have ever had more respect for in my life. I have learned much from my father. And to be perfectly fair – whenever an appliance broke in our household – the down time of that appliance was minimal, particularly if the problem involved the power cord.

In fact I am proud to say that I have inherited some of my father’s thriftiness and resourcefulness.

And while I don’t like to brag, I have to confess I have even improved upon some of Dad’s techniques. Dad most often used the old cloth black electrical tape for his repairs whereas I now replace my power cords with that shiny black plastic electrical tape.

I just think the glossy finish gives the repair job a certain touch of class, don’t you?

– 30 –



    Where are the power cords now? Does you mom still have them? It’s hard to sort through that kind of thing…just in case you might need it! Any of us baby boomers, probably have a little ingenuity and resourcefulness passed on from our parents who grew up in a time when luxuries didn’t come easy. They saved every nail & hammered the crooked ones out straight & re-used them. Tied broken shoe laces back together again. I recently noticed my Uncle Bill who is 82 years old with about 3 knots in each of his shoe laces. When I asked him if he thought it was about time to get new laces – he said what for, they still work?
    I’m a bit of a horder myself, but I insist my mother get rid of things she’s had for years and never used. If you don’t purge once in awhile you’d run out of space to store it all. My grandmother saved every twist tie, elastic, plastic closure off the bread bag and even the bread bag itself. Now we just go buy more at the dollar store. Jim maybe you need to write an article about going green.


    Don’t get me started about hammering out crooked nails. That was one of the jobs my Uncle Harold made me do the summer I worked on his farm. And they weren’t just “crooked” nails – they were “rusty” crooked nails!

    I’m not talking “a handfull” of nails either. I spent more than one whole day doing nothing but straighten rusty old crooked nails. I’d be willing to bet some of those nails I straightened are still there in those old tobacco cans in the barn on the 10th line of Stroud.

    And some of them are probably still holding some of the barn together too.

    If I sound bitter I’m not really. Except maybe because nobody makes young people do jobs like that any more. I think the world would be a better place if we all had to spend a day straigthening out rusty old crooked nails from time to time.

    Now – about that article you want me to write about going green. The only “green” I’m interested in is the “green” that has pictures of our Queen on it. Send me some of that and I’ll write an article about anything you want.


    I mean green in the sense of fixing the kettle instead of throwing it in the land fill … then you’d have even more green cause you don’t need to buy a new kettle.

    You can do it…I know you can.


    Okay, okay. Check it out.

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