That’s me. A jack of no trades and a master of none.
Some people should not be turned loose with a screwdriver…or hammer. Some people should not be allowed to open a circuit box…or change a washer, or make any household repairs no matter how simple.
Simple? There is no such thing. As you can guess I have odd jobs to complete. Maybe I won’t burn down the house or flood the bathroom.
When in doubt, call the plumber. Call the electrician. I should always be in doubt.
Some men are born without the “jack of all trades” handyman genes. I am one of those men. I am not a handyman. I am lucky to still have all of my fingers. I am also stupid because I still try to lose them.
I know my way around a screwdriver, hammer, or wrench…even a drill. I know which end to use and after that…I’ve found I’m pretty much useless…worse than useless. A disaster looking for a place to happen.
“How to” YouTube videos suddenly become Godzilla movies in real life as I wreak havoc on unsuspecting circuit boards or faucet valves and innocent pieces of wood. Can you be arrested for “wood slaughter” or nail bending?
I should have thought of my shortcomings before moving into a house that is a century and a quarter old…well…the older home does seem to be better put together than the newer edition. They really don’t make things like they used to…I’m a walking example of that.
Wood? It was made to burn.
I think I got my destructive gene honestly. My dad fixed looms in a cotton mill but when he got home…not so much. To his defense, we had no looms at home.
The memory of my Dad is not being too much of a “handy guy.” Like me, maybe replacing a washer or pull cord on a lawnmower, but Ernest also ruined more lumber than he ever put up. I have turned a lot of good wood into kindling over the years.
I can’t drive a nail or cut a board straight with a nailgun held to my head. Well, I can drive it straight if it doesn’t matter what it looks like but just as soon as I try to put that tee tiny finishing nail in…I find not only have I ruined the nail but the board I’m trying to put it into. Trim work? Surely you jest. They ain’t made enough wood filler yet.
There is a certain amount of pressure to perform. Do the “manly” things of life. My wife standing by, watching my every move. Patting her toe, her fists clenched and resting on her hips does not help.
“So, you really want me to use this pipe wrench? Do you have the plumber’s telephone number close by? You know, just in case.”
It is her dad’s fault. Ole Ralph Bolt would try anything right up to microsurgery. No job too hard or too complicated. Not that he was any more successful, he just knew how to hide his catastrophes better than I do.
He reminded me of an organ grinder’s monkey…not in looks but actions. He was small and light on his feet…and fearless. Scrambling up and down ladders or across the roof. Even into his eighties, he was willing to climb up scaffolding or step over to the edge of an overhang to drive a nail.
Banging away he would pause after miss hitting, eyeball the nail before exclaiming either, “Shi…” and reversing the hammerhead to draw the nail out or giving it the side-eye, “Well, that’s okay for ‘gubmint’ work.”
Maybe that is my problem. I’m trying to be to pleasing…too perfect. It just needs to be good enough for ‘gubmint’ work. I don’t know, I think not.
I have nightmares about whether that switch I replaced is just waiting to short out and burn down our house or the valve on the water tank will fail, causing the flood of the century.
From YouTube, The Talking Heads, Burning Down the House. Released in 1983 on the album Speaking in Tongues.