There’s a curious ease to ordinary tasks like opening a can of soda, tying shoelaces, or navigating a smart phone — effortless motion! A beautiful combination of dexterity and muscle memory that’s often unnoticed. Our hands and fingers are wonderfully capable. They feel, apply pressure, generate leverage, multi-task, synchronize, and carry out a range of actions the most advanced robotic technology can only shake a clumsy hydraulic fist at.
I’ve always enjoyed activities and jobs that require the hands and mind to work in tandem. There’s satisfaction to the immediacy of working through a problem and seeing the results in real time. In my first post, I mentioned a lag between my understanding of the decal process and my inability to perform the required hand skills. As I’ve continued learning the ins and outs of commercial graphics installation with TKO, I’ve found that my hands are becoming less awkward and more agile.
Getting vinyl to stick to a surface in a way that will hold up to the elements and look professional takes a lot of cleaning, heating, pulling, tearing, cutting, brushing, and wiping. All of this takes a toll on the hands …well, at least my hands. Every day on the job brings a thousand tiny abuses — cuts, burns, scrapes, and gouges. My wrists crack, knuckles pop, and palms ache, but there’s an element of pride that emerges as callouses form and fingers strengthen.
I’m amazed when I think about the evolution my hands have undergone in just six weeks of work. These days, we hear a lot about the rapid progression of technology. Today’s new version is tomorrow’s outdated model! In the past 100 years, automation has driven industries to unparalleled heights, but there are still many jobs that machines stink at. Fortunately, we humans have a knack for expressing spontaneous ingenuity through our hands, making us well suited for detail-oriented work with unpredictable variables …like installing graphics!