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

By J.G. Pasterjak
Jul 6, 2017 | Posted in Columns | From the April 2017 issue | Never miss an article

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

Deja vu

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

In reply to Driven5:

Still more productive than talking politics.

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


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

In reply to Appleseed:

Around here, those are politics.

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..

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