My 8 year-old son’s Cub Scout troop was paying a visit to a cabinet makers shop the other day.
It was pretty amazing and I remember most of it even though I lost consciousness after walking through the front door.
I’m not sure if it was the blinding white, halo-like glow emanating from each blessed tool that gave me the vapors, or if it was the sound of heavenly choirs blasting in my head that did it.
It was the…Garage Mahal.
As I looked around I saw little animated stars go “Ting!” all over the shiny, un-dusty surfaces.
It was a huge shop, well lit, equipped with an amazing variety of tools, and it had radiant heat and dust extraction tubing built right into the concrete floor! (Most tool-guys reading that sentence just fainted).
Now this may not sound like a big deal, but there was also a two-bladed table saw with a computerized, robotic fence! (The fainted bodies laying around just started twitching…).
Naturally, there were a lot of questions.
“Do you know how to actually work all these tools mister?” someone asked.
“Yes – I use them every day,” said the carpenter.
“So, do you actually know what the really little lines are on a tape measure?” another asked.
“Yes – and I know how to use them too,” he said.
Then we let the kids ask some questions.
“I see you’re using a three-phase pre-framulation unit on your dingle-arm reciprocator, does it work as well as the 4 phase synchro-mizer?”
I made a mental note to smack that kid. When we got home.
“Do you ever use swear words when you’re building stuff like Dad does?” another smart-aleck asked.
“My Dad marks his lumber with a crayon and he uses a housewife apron in his shop” said another.
The men all pointed and laughed at that father.
“Heh heh that was pretty funny yes sir oh boy am I gonna get him when we get home,” I said under my breath, smiling proudly.
OK so I’m not the handiest of guys when it comes to tools. Big deal. That does not mean I can’t envy another man’s table saw, or check out the angles on his cordless 18 volt tool package.
I’ve analyzed the visceral appeal of tools to guys (not too deeply mind you) and I figure men like tools because they enjoy flirting with danger.
Knowing how quickly your money (or digits) can disappear while around these babies gives them a certain appeal, like fast cars or breathing women.
In fact, I think it is perfectly normal for a man to sneak down to his workshop at night and softly caress the gentle curves of his drill press, to drink in the perfume of his off-cut lumber, or shudder in anticipation of using his 10 inch sliding compound miter saw.
“Dad! Wake up! You were moaning and twitching again and the show’s almost over.”
“I’m sorry son – I must have drifted off” I said.
“You do that all the time. I think I’m old enough to watch Bob Villa by myself don’t you think?”
“We’ll talk about it son,” I said.
“Here’s a tissue for the drool on your chin too, Dad. Now just run along to bed, OK?”
“OK son” I said, sleepily.
They grow up so fast don’t they?