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How Many Canadians Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb?

I don't know about you, but when I think about Canadians I tend to think of a hardy, handy, hopeful kind of people. Nope, at least according to a new survey that finds a startling number of them don't know a flat tire from a faulty zipper and for God's sake, don't ever ask them to fix either one. This goes for Canadian men as well as women. Who knew?

Doug and Dougette will definitely need to hire a contractor: A Harris/Decima telephone survey of 1,011 Canadians says they're lacking in the basic maintenance skills that their parents could perform with their eyes closed. Roughly 46% of Canadians admit they don't know how to install a faucet, and 14% would suffer the deluge if their house's water main broke because they don't know how to turn off the water. About 45% can't replace a broken zipper; 28% don't know how to change a flat tire. Almost one-third (31%) of Canadians have no idea how to swap out a light fixture. No wonder all the HGTV shows are from Canada. It's not a DIY culture up there.

Now before you think I'm using this post as an opportunity to rag on our wonderful neighbors to the north, please let me say that I have no idea how to replace a zipper, either. My World War II-era mother nagged and nagged and nagged me to take home economics in junior high middle school, but I refused. Vehemently. I am a Gen Xer, hear me roar. I am a modern girl, like the Sheena Easton song. How old fashioned can you get, Mom? I'll take another elective, thank you. One that will come in handy someday. Like French language.

Do I start to sweat these days when a zipper breaks or my grade schooler wants the $19.99 "make it yourself" purse kit from Michael's that would require me to exhibit beginner-to-somewhat-intensive sewing skills? Yes, I admit it. Just a minute honey, I'm still trying to thread the needle. Want to do something else in the meantime? How about Legos? The worst part? Her dad ended up threading the needle, picking up her pink purse pieces, and then showing her how to "suture," something he learned very well in biology class. Let's just say that I won't discourage our daughter from taking home economics someday should she show an interest in it, if only to gain more basic, getting-by skills than her mother. (I would tell my sons the same thing.)

We Americans can laugh, but I highly doubt Gen X, Gen Y and possibly even a few Baby Boomer Americans are much better in the "gettin' by" skills category. This is a generational problem and has been for quite awhile, but it's one that's good for the economy because when you can't fix a zipper, you'll either look up a professional repair shop or just go to Old Navy and buy a new pair of pants. Everyone goes on and on about how they don't have the time to take care of such things because they're so busy when really it's that we don't have the skills but we don't want to admit it. We humans are very good at making time for the things we want to make time for. If we felt we had the skills, we wouldn't be left with the contractor's bills.

Some economist somewhere needs to measure the economic benefit of our basic skill deficits. I bet our "oh geez, it broke and I don't know how the hell to fix it" contractor economy equals out to a big chunk of money.

So to answer my original question: How many Canadians does it take to change a light bulb? Well, I'm guessing only one because it's not a hard job. Just don't ask them to install the $40 light fixture they bought at Home Depot, okay?

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