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I first knew I wasn't exactly handy when I tried to change the spark plugs on my family's Volkswagen bus. The plugs didn't need changing--the van was new. But I was a teenager, and this seemed like a good excuse to get under the hood and learn about How Things Work. A few minutes later (after I'd dropped the socket from the wrench irretrievably into the engine compartment but before my dad taught me a bunch of new and colorful words), I realized that I am a 10-thumbed, butterfingered klutz. Now, when so much as a light bulb burns out in...

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