December 21, 2010
My kind of tools
Originally published September 28, 2002
I am not a dexterious, jack of all trades, mechanically-inclined person. In fact, the most sophisticated tool I ever wish to utilize with my actual hands EVER AGAIN IN MY LIFE is a corkscrew, the kind with the built-in levers that pop open a wine bottle in nothing flat.
I'm GOOD with one of those.
I am NOT GOOD at fixing broken stuff, putting unassembled things together or building ANYTHING from scratch. I suck at that.
I believe that I developed a deep aversion to such activities as a young boy, because my father WAS good at all of that crap. He wanted to pass along his knowledge of woodworking, bricklaying, carpentry, plumbing and general handyman stuff by teaching ME on SATURDAY MORNINGS when HE had a project in mind. While all my friends were out playing, riding their bikes and having a damned good time, I was "learning" valuable skills from my father.
And when he started a project, he didn't quit until it was finished. And I wasn't allowed to quit, either, even if I was reduced to the role of holding the flashlight while he finished up in the dark at 10:00 Saturday night. I learned to HATE wrenches, hammers and tools in general. I learned to DESPISE those incoherent instructions included with everything you have to "assemble."
I once bought a shotgun, brought it home and executed a half-assembled barbecue grill in my back yard. I AM NOT MAKING THAT UP!
I didn't have to "assemble" the shotgun. I had thrown in the towel on the grill hours earlier. It was a mercy killing. I took mercy on myself.
That's why I own a truck today. I don't buy anything that I can't haul, fully assembled, to my house and simply set in place where I want it. If it will not fit in my truck, I pay to have it delivered, assembled and set up by professionals, who know what they are doing.
If I want something and it comes with a plastic bag full of nuts and bolts and a goddam instruction book, I reconsider whether I really NEED the sumbitch or not. If I can't buy it assembled, I KNOW that I don't need it.
I am a simple man. Pass me the corkscrew...