I have been collecting tools all my life. I started working on small engines (for go karts) when I was a little kid, along with building radios. Tools were precious: they cost money that I didn’t have, they required a trip to the store when I had no transportation, and the local stores were poorly stocked. Mail order was a slow, unreliable pain.

With time, I acquired more money and my own car. Not having the right tool was still a pain and could interrupt a project for a day or two (or longer if something had to be ordered). But generally, with the tools I had inherited from my grandfather and collected over the years I could do whatever car or home repair or electronics project with tools I had at hand. Even so, I kept close track of my tools and tried to take good care of them.

Eventually, I reached a point where the cost of most any tools wasn’t a barrier and, with online ordering, I could get even some exotic things in just a day or two. I started to relax, ever so slightly, my vigil over my tools.

Now I’m packing to move to a particularly remote part of what Time Magazine has called “the most isolated population center in the world”. Yes, there’s still Amazon, but not everything is eligible for shipment there and, no, there’s generally not same-day or two-day delivery. I also don’t have any income anymore, so have to watch my spending pretty closely. And I will have to be able to keep our vehicles and electrical system and housing and electronics working when far from the nearest repair shop on a remote island in the Pacific.

Tools are precious again.

—2p

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