Sometimes it seems that Jeff Foxworthy should look into my life to get some new material. I mean, seriously, if you have to jiggle the handle after every time you flush, you might be a redneck. If you have a ratchet strap around your freezer to keep the door shut because your porch has too much swag, you might be a redneck. If you sell dead rattlesnakes at the General Store for payment by the foot, you might be a redneck. If you brought your front porch in hanging from a chain on the front of a tractor, you might be a redneck. If everything in your house and on your vehicle has a special rigged up combination to make it work, you just might be a redneck.
This last one is what we in the country call redneck engineering. Duct tape. Ratchet straps. Bungee cords. All of these items can keep something together for a little bit longer until the day comes that it falls completely apart. I had no idea the extent of this way of life until I moved to the woods and married a country boy sixteen years ago. Now, don’t hear what I’m not saying. Redneck engineering can be a wonderful, ingenious, short-term solution, but when it comes to longevity, there has to be some sort of follow-through that motivates the redneck engineer to come back and truly fix the original problem.
And therein lies the struggle with the true redneck engineer-follow-through. For 16 years, my husband and I have engineered some pretty, crazy redneckish stuff. In the moment, we won’t have the right tool or part, so we find something that will “do the job for now” and we move on, rarely coming back to fix it. But since we have slowly been building our house over the last three years, we have had to retrain ourselves. Instead of taking short cuts because we are tired or sick of working on a project, one of us always has to remind the other that in the long run, the extra time to do it right and not cut corners will be worth it.
But, gosh, in the moment, taking the easy way out seems like such a better option. It’s like that in life sometimes, too. A little lie to not have to get a lecture. A halfway job on something that no one else will notice. Not facing something head-on and pretending or excusing it away. The list could go on and on. But when we are looking back from the other side from the lens of our broken situation, we wish that we had taken the time early on to fix it, so it wasn’t in such disrepair in the end.
While I’m rather enjoying this whole redneck way of living, redneck engineering in my everyday life isn’t the answer. Putting a patch on a broken friendship or a Band-Aid on a hurt isn’t going to fix it for the long run. We need to set aside the Duct tape, ratchet straps, and bungee cords and reach for a solution that will last, even if it means a little extra work up front. Saying no to redneck engineering will be worth it in the end.