At 17 I rebuilt my first V8 engine from the block up. I had a friend whose mother was dating a German who had been a mechanic on the Porsche international racing team. He asked if he could drive my car. I was pleased to have him do so and handed him the keys. Off we went. It is always satisfying to watch someone who truly knows what they do, and this was the case here as he put the car through its paces.
“Your transmission mount is loose,” he said, shifting gears. Five hundred people could have driven that car, and he was the only one that would have known that.
“Yes, it needs to be replaced,” I responded.
As we pulled back into my friend’s driveway the German said, “Not bad, Little Turkey,” and offered me a job working for him. He owned an automotive shop that specialized in working on German cars (naturally). I accepted that offer. I learned a lot in a short amount of time. Most of what he taught me he could have done in his sleep, and you had to pay strict attention or you’d miss something important.
A number of weeks later I failed to adjust the valves properly on a Porsche 911. I offered an explanation and he slapped me right upside the head for “talking back” to him. He was a big dude, much taller and larger than I. Life seemed terribly unfair at that moment… and it was.
In the coming years I would manage large projects and large numbers of people. I would own my own companies. I was known for the efficiency with which we did our work, high quality at reasonable cost. My crews could travel 800 miles with tools and materials and leave a job complete and well-done in the time that others would be just getting started.
I had three rules: Don’t ever lie to me, don’t ever miss work without a hell of a good reason, and don’t burr screw heads. Any of these might get you fired on the spot, and old guys made sure the new guys knew it. “You were tough, but you were fair,” they would tell me years later. They knew that I was tougher on no one more than myself.
Now what I have just described is a Patriarchal system. It is a system that gets roads built, and skyscrapers, and battleships. It goes without sleep when there are deadlines. It fires people who don’t show up for work, or who take the quality of their work casually. It feeds and protects families and communities, and may risk its own life to do so. It is logic, not love. It is determination. It is the bull that watches over the herd while they graze in peace, and it is the nature of Man and Men. It is why the German and Japanese cultures have endured, and why they have always been outstanding.
Has the quest of Man always been a perfect one? Hardly. It simply is what it is. But there is no lasting culture without it. Those who are able to transcend this seeming madness are conscious of a larger truth, that most of what man does, whether he even knows it or not, is motivated by his love for the other half of humanity that he instinctively loves more than himself. Woman.
Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts…
originally posted to spacebook