Redneck Sustainability: Black Fingernail

You know you are a redneck if you’ve got a black fingernail in your wedding photo. (Sorry, Dad.) But honestly, how often do city folk end up with a black nail?

I hadn’t pondered the issue much of late, until the other day I punched a hole in my thumbnail with a bouncing nail gun. Now, part of the issue may deal more with the fact rednecks tend to throw caution to the wind in order to “git ‘er done” whether they have procured the appropriate tools for getting said job done or not. (It turns out a framing gun may not be the best tool for building a planter box).

But to meander slowly back to my point, I’ve spent the last few weeks watching my black nail grow out. (Seeing how I spend most of my time typing, I’m rather glad I didn’t lose it all together.) After musing over my black nail and the hasty choices that led to its formation, I’ve decided Rednecks have once again procured the moral high ground of sustainable living.

Thinking before acting is noble. But thinking afterwards brings wisdom.

Too many folk these days spend too much time thinking beforehand and never getting down to business. While this sort of behavior can occasionally preserve a digit or two, it chokes life of joy and meaning. It can also pilfer opportunities for wisdom.

I realize acting without thinking has been glorified lately via such things as the Darwin Awards. These people are boneheads, not rednecks. (Well, they may or may not be rednecks, but the point is they are more idjit than anything.)

I’m talking about the innate redneck ability to calculate a risk, balance the benefit of a little creative elbow grease over the time involved to “do something right” and then take immediate action. Often this means more time for sitting on the porch and enjoying a ripe watermelon. Occasionally it means a black fingernail or two.

But thus enters the opportunity for wisdom. Will I use my framing gun inappropriately again in the future? Yes. But will I make sure the item I’m nailing is better braced and that my free hand is further away? Certainly.

Any straight-laced chimp can read a manual and remain within the manufacturer’s suggested range of operation. But if you’ve never used the top step of a ladder, then how are you supposed to know what you can and can’t get away with while you’re up there?

The American redneck knows such things. He or she has spent time (while healing from broken bones) gaining valuable wisdom on the matter.

When the need arises for hanging upside down from a roof in order to trim the end of a inappropriately sized rafter installed by some bonehead, you’ll find yourself looking around for the nearest redneck to deliver the day, because all she’ll need is a circular saw, an extension cord and some helping hands (and maybe a few get well soon cards).

And after all, sustainable living isn’t always about stymieing bloodloss and extending life. It’s about preserving a life worth living in a manner that allows others to do the same. Bravo, American redneck. Bravo.

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