Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Man Without a Toolbox

A man without a toolbox, is like a shark without teeth. It's emasculating to have to knock on your neighbor's door and ask to borrow a lug wrench. Although, it's funny when she goes through the toolbox in her garage briefly, before turning, and saying, "I have to admit...I don't know what a lug wrench is." I wondered why she was looking in the toolbox, when she had just pulled the car in. I borrowed the lug wrench from the back of her VW Passat, but it was too small. The lug wrench stored in the back of my dilapidated Subaru was too small. I guess I've got big nuts. My wife's brother drove up and his lug wrench fit just right. I got dirty and sweaty, changing tires, while my wife and her brother cheered me on. "Turn that wrench! Hoist that tire!"

There are many times I could have saved the day, if only I'd had the proper Allen wrench, or a decent pair of needle nose pliers. Once upon a time I had socket wrenches, crescent wrenches and hammers, screwdrivers: common and Phillips head. I used to change the oil regularly in my vehicles. I changed the head gaskets in my pick-up truck and the belts on Cutlass Supreme. Now I can barely get my hand into the engines of the new cars. The jacks and wrenches that come included with cars would barely qualify as Tinker Toys.

Rigby hamboning.
If I had a hammer....actually, there are two hammers in the basement, so I'm good on that score. Somebody once said, and I've repeated it, the only tools one needs is a hammer, vise-grips and duct tape. Yes, duct tape qualifies as a tool. It could save your life...that and ham-boning. My dad had a great toolbox. In fact, he had an entire wood shop on the second floor of red barn. He had a band saw, and a table saw. There were planes, chisels, clamps, and vises, oodles of nails and a pinup girl framed with a wooden toilet seat.

I still have vices, but I don't get hammered anymore. Drinking doesn't agree with my stomach and aging brain cells. The only monkey-wrenching I seem to do these days is in my relationships. Wife number three has been very tolerant of me and my lack of proper tools. Having a toolbox is one thing, but I must fill that box with all the tools most needed for any occasion. An oil can to take care of my aching joints. ("Bang on my chest if you think I'm perfect!") Oh yeah, and a sewing kit to repair my heart, when it is torn in half.
At the end of the day, I'm still a few screwdrivers short of a toolbox. I have plenty of books and papers, but when the apocalypse arrives in all it's nuclear glory, my library will just be so much kindling. Everything is ephemeral but at the most minuscule level, it's all infinity as far as the mind can think. Here in the big world, I still have time to make lunch before heading down the road to my job at the best independent bookstore in Seattle proper.

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