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6 Things You Can Do Instead of Posting Political Rants on Social Media

If you’ve read the title of this column, and you follow any of my social media feeds, you have probably already rolled your eyes back in your head far enough to cause physical pain. For the rest of you, feel free to send me a Facebook friend request, then just go ahead and preemptively block me.

Yes, these have been a contentious few months, and there’s every indication that America’s tension headache will not abate any time soon. But in this column I offer a piping hot cup of chicken-flavored Advil.

There’s salvation away from the angry pixels of our news-feeds, my friends. I offer you this list–thoroughly researched but by no means comprehensive–of Things You Can Do That Are Better Than Discussing Politics Online®:

1. Sit in your garage and beat on your toes with a torque wrench.

Really, it’s a low bar we’re trying to hurdle here. Even doing permanent, disfiguring damage to your body seems like a better proposition than reading the pidgin English of your alcoholic uncle raving about the Bilderbergers and the Illuminati again.

But if you want to set your sights a little higher, you can try to…

2. Make something you don’t need.

Sometimes the best learning experiences are the ones with the lowest stakes. There is a simple, primal joy in creating–not even creating so much as the act of creating. Of course, there are bonus points if you make something that works, but the real bonus is you’ll probably learn something along the way.

If you get bored with that and have honed your skills to a knife-edge, you can try to…

3. Make something you do need.

Making low-stakes items is great for a learning tool, but the level of satisfaction in making something you can actually use is multiplied every time you actually use that item. Also, who cares if you can save money by buying one off of Amazon. Digging the metal shavings out from under your eyelid and the glue out of your hair will always be more satisfying than one-click ordering. Bonus points if you build something that helps you build other things.

And if you’re going to be building things, you might want to…

4. Label all the things!

One of the greatest tools I have in my shop is a battery-powered label maker. It has a label on it that says “Label Maker.” Look, even if you live in a studio apartment and keep your autocross or track day stuff in Rubbermaid containers in your closet, time spent labeling all that stuff is never time wasted. I’ve been setting aside time every month to just walk around my shop labeling stuff–drawers, cabinets, bins–anything whose contents aren’t 100 percent apparent at first glance. Not only does labeling help you find things, but it forces you to think about what things you are keeping where, and helps create an overall sense of organization. And when you know where all your stuff is, you can try to…

5. Learn a new skill.

This applies in more places than the shop. I keep a pile of scrap near my welder so I can practice different joints. You may choose to go to your next track day with the specific mission of perfecting your downshifts, or to your next autocross with the specific mission of nailing your slaloms. Make a plan and practice your plan. Find an experienced mentor, take a class, or hire a coach or instructor. No one can ever take knowledge away from you.

And with that newfound knowledge, you can…

6. Pass your knowledge on to someone else.

Look, don’t just snatch a local kid off his skateboard in front of your house and drag him into your darkened garage while whispering, “Do you want to know how electricity works, Billy?” But if you have some knowledge, share it. Pass it on. You’ll often find that teaching someone to do something makes you better at that very thing–and, ultimately, this is all about you, isn’t it?

Taken as a whole, we can loosely sum up these tips by saying that you should be an ambassador for your lifestyle. These things we do–these dumb, loud cars and sticky tires and greasy hands and bleeding knuckles and late nights and early mornings at lonely tracks and airports and parking lots–seem objectively dumb to most of the world. But, boy, are they satisfying to us.

Instead of rejecting those people who may not understand–or, worse yet, rejecting the people who may choose to enjoy similar hobbies in a different way (to the general public, there is no difference between a national autocross champion and a stance enthusiast; think about that)–share the message of how important this way of life is to you.

So unplug yourself, go knock on someone’s door on a Saturday morning (metaphorically speaking), and tell them you’ve found the path to salvation–and it involves several quarts of Red Line 5W30. After they call the cops on you, offer to shut them up by teaching them how to weld.

This column originally ran in the April 2017 issue of Grassroots Motorsports.

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Comments

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Huckleberry
Huckleberry MegaDork
6/13/17 10:35 a.m.

I feel like I've seen this before. And we got a repeat of the old "Is Simulated racing real racing" last week.

Is there a button that when pushed spits out old articles in addition to whatever you were trying to do?

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
6/13/17 10:41 a.m.

Yes, we upload old articles to the website so everyone can enjoy them. This is the first time this column has be added to the website. Maybe you read it in the magazine when it first ran.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
6/13/17 10:49 a.m.
JG Pasterjak wrote: 1. Sit in your garage and beat on your toes with a torque wrench.

This would actually be more productive than political rants...at least you'd accomplish something.

Karl La Follette
Karl La Follette UltraDork
6/13/17 12:06 p.m.

7 > Start a Window Tinting Sign Business Salvage Yard Race support Food Truck PaddleBoard company Become a Captain and Publish an Adventure Coupon magazine

Cactus
Cactus Reader
6/13/17 12:15 p.m.
Huckleberry wrote: I feel like I've seen this before.

Deja vu

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
6/13/17 12:45 p.m.

So, by "posting political rants on social media" you mean starting forum topics about NASCAR vs F1, power vs weight, style vs performance, mid-size vs full-size trucks, manual vs auto vs dual-clutch, autox vs track days vs road racing, etc...Right?

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
6/13/17 12:47 p.m.

In reply to Driven5:

Still more productive than talking politics.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
6/13/17 12:57 p.m.
JG Pasterjak wrote: 4. Label all the things!

https://batlabels.tumblr.com/

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
6/13/17 1:00 p.m.

In reply to Appleseed:

Around here, those are politics.

Devilsolsi
Devilsolsi Reader
6/13/17 3:46 p.m.
Driven5 wrote: So, by "posting political rants on social media" you mean starting forum topics about NASCAR vs F1, power vs weight, style vs performance, mid-size vs full-size trucks, manual vs auto vs dual-clutch, autox vs track days vs road racing, etc...Right?

If you really are bored, go to FerrariChat and debate timing belt changes..

racerdave600
racerdave600 SuperDork
6/13/17 4:48 p.m.
Devilsolsi wrote:
Driven5 wrote: So, by "posting political rants on social media" you mean starting forum topics about NASCAR vs F1, power vs weight, style vs performance, mid-size vs full-size trucks, manual vs auto vs dual-clutch, autox vs track days vs road racing, etc...Right?

If you really are bored, go to FerrariChat and debate timing belt changes..

OK, I had to really laugh at this one. I knew a guy that had a Ferrari once, and I remember him having unreal debates about the best cloth to wipe it down with. They were deadly serious, almost to the point of a real fight. Still, there could actually have been a winner and loser in this one, no one wins in politics. It was funny to me that they were so serious about it.

accordionfolder
accordionfolder HalfDork
6/13/17 4:54 p.m.

In reply to racerdave600:

I lol'd

In reply to Ed Higginbotham:

Thanks for posting up the old articles/columns - I love the content.

johnnie
johnnie Reader
6/13/17 5:32 p.m.
racerdave600 wrote:
Devilsolsi wrote:
Driven5 wrote: So, by "posting political rants on social media" you mean starting forum topics about NASCAR vs F1, power vs weight, style vs performance, mid-size vs full-size trucks, manual vs auto vs dual-clutch, autox vs track days vs road racing, etc...Right?

If you really are bored, go to FerrariChat and debate timing belt changes..

OK, I had to really laugh at this one. I knew a guy that had a Ferrari once, and I remember him having unreal debates about the best cloth to wipe it down with. They were deadly serious, almost to the point of a real fight. Still, there could actually have been a winner and loser in this one, no one wins in politics. It was funny to me that they were so serious about it.

Reminds me of the audiophools who debate which string to suspend your speaker cables from the floor with-- cotton string sounds such and such a way, silk thread a different, hemp twine adds another element entirely.

Tom1200
Tom1200 HalfDork
6/13/17 10:52 p.m.

JG I've tried to like this article but some things are clear to me; first it's clear you've sold out to the man and this is an attempt to distract real and imitation Americans by getting them involved in a relaxing hobby.

Sure it works but don't think for a minute we don't know that your trying to cover up for:

The Russians trying to manipulate the steel market by building cut rate knock offs of Italian cars.

UAW rigged elections in favor of candidates who were pro worker.

The SCCA, NASA, SVRA as well as other clubs publish rules and put on events in a shameless effort to provide people with fun safe environment to race a car with your friends and then collect so called "entry fees" which they then use to run these events.

Speciality car magazines are part of a secret society known as the "free publishers" whose mission is to convince us that playing with cars is somehow OK.

Kaiser was behind the JFK assignation, payback for driving another brand of car.

Mitsubishi bombed Pearl Harbor to get out of its aircraft contract so they could concentrate on selling highly profitable AWD cars.

ET designed the Pacer.

Nick (Bo) Comstock
Nick (Bo) Comstock MegaDork
6/13/17 11:45 p.m.

I often come up with elaborate political rants. Only they are about Canadian politics. And I don't post them anywhere. And eventually I come to the realization that sideburns are like racing stripes for your face.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair UltimaDork
6/14/17 6:28 a.m.
  1. Make startling revelation about the current time.

  2. Imbibe.

  3. Inhale.

  4. Elevate.

  5. Descend.

  6. Go insane in automotive Capitol of US.

Jerry
Jerry UltraDork
6/14/17 8:04 a.m.

But is autocross "racing"?

759NRNG
759NRNG HalfDork
6/14/17 8:10 a.m.

In reply to Jerry: hater...

Brian
Brian MegaDork
6/14/17 8:43 a.m.

This reminds me to fix my chair. The mortise and tenon came apart. The plan is to pop it back in place, drill a hole and fill it with a dowel and gorilla wood glue. I've had the supplies for over a month.

Tom1200
Tom1200 HalfDork
6/14/17 11:18 p.m.

Jerry have you been living under a rock or what? Everyone knows the truth about Autocross was a shame conspiracy started by two drunks in parking lot.

Back in the day Jim O'Conner & Otto Kraus, celebrating their good fortune over having scored some factory tuning parts for their NSU rally car by downing several pints of Guiness and hooning it up in a super market parking lot. This naturally drew the attention of local law enforcement.

The first officer on the scene asked "what in the name of St Peter do you think you're doing"

Jim and Otto, being totally inebriated, thought he asked for their names and attempted to reply but instead shouted Gym-Conner & Otto-cross.

Upon waking up in the drunk tank the next morning and being dragged into court it was clear some fast thinking was in order. Jim being a resourceful lad from Donnegal explained to the judge that this was a new form of motorsport called Gymkhana or Autocross. While admitting that yes they had been drinking they reminded the judge that it was private property and that they just got swept up with the excitement over their new business venture.

The judge acknowledge that this having taken place on private property meant they couldn't be charged unless the property owner chose to press charges. The judge did tell them that if this "event " did not take place he'd charge them with perjury, that he owned an Alfa and he'd be there to see for himself.

The rest is history; me aunt Mary is from Donnegal and says this was told to her by her cousin's barber's best friend.

jharry3
jharry3 New Reader
6/15/17 11:46 a.m.

Where I grew up you could make a life long enemy just by starting a Ford vs Chevy discussion.

LuxInterior
LuxInterior HalfDork
6/15/17 12:23 p.m.

More things you could do (other than kill innocent pixels with another social media political rant):

  1. Mow the lawn

  2. Detail your car

  3. Detail my car

92dxman
92dxman SuperDork
7/9/17 4:33 p.m.

I just stay off social media. Find that to work the best!

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