Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Power tools

"Is that the first power tool you've ever bought?" Brian asked when I told him about the drill.

"No, smart-ass, when I broke the one you lent me 10 years ago, I bought a new one to replace it, remember?"  I had him on a technicality.  I wouldn't be the first American male to never purchase a power tool until age 43.

"Yeah, well your new drill should have an asterisk by it because it's the first one you ever bought for yourself."

Whatever, let's not quibble here.  Whether it's the first or the second, the point remains that I don't buy or own many power tools.  In fact, I only have two:  A drill and a racket stringer.  There is some controversy as to whether the latter is a power tool, but here are the facts:  It plugs into the wall and it has a mechanical wheel that rotates and stretches racket strings.  I'm sure if you got your finger caught in there it would hurt a little bit.  I believe that qualifies as a power tool.

The tool wall of shame
Don't get me wrong about tools in general, I have several.  I keep them around in large part due to the fact that other males occasionally walk through my garage.  I have to maintain appearances. The tools hang on a wall of shame in the garage where they linger about, largely unused for long stretches of time.  I have doubles of many of them, a result of borrowing them from somebody else and never returning them (I kept Brian's backup drill for 4 years).   Alternatively, I often go out and buy a duplicate copy of a tool because I can't find the one I own.  When you go four years in between needing wire cutters, why would you assume you have some already, or bother to look for them in the jumbled chaos of the garage? If you see something of yours on that pegboard, let me know and I'll return it as soon as possible. The pegboard you see is organized only because we just moved into a new place.  Give it three months and I won't know where any of those items are.  The next time you see a photo of it, there will be 3 wire cutters hanging there.

Naturally, the first thing I did after buying the power drill was to photograph it.  I didn't see a new shed,  kitchen cabinets, or wine rack in my head when I got it.  No, I saw a photograph waiting to happen.  The lines, colors, and textures are what caught my eye, not its inherit value as a tool.  I think it's pissed at its fate because I can see it sitting there mocking me.

In a matter of 3 days, I've crushed its soul. Something this manly doesn't like to be patronized.  It sits there boasting of its "skil" and 18 velorameters (velocitometers?) of power, knowing it is too much tool for me, the baby skinned suburbanite.  It stands in proud defiance of its fate, a hermetic life of hanging out with the mere mortals of tools,  near the wall of shame, which it drilled holes for, in relative darkness, with intermittent bouts of hole drilling for hanging pictures.  I have asked it to make its own grave, and it knows it.  It also knows the next time you see a photo of the wall of shame and the surrounding space, there will be two of them.  I think a blue one will look good next to the red one in a photographic diptych.

Power Tool?

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