Friday 5 December 2014

I Have Some Free Time

Many years ago, I worked with this guy who was just a little crazy. The emphasis is on the “little” because Tommy was about 4’ 11” on his tip toes. A lot of little guys feel they need to prove that they are every bit as good as everyone else. Perhaps they have been teased over the years or maybe they feel a little less than they should feel about themselves. I don’t know. Most of the people I have met who are smaller than me are accomplished in one way or another. Well, more accomplished than I am anyways.

One of the first times that I met Tommy was early morning and when I came into the aisle I said “Hello Ladies!” Tommy stormed up to me, grabbed my lapels (he had to reach up of course) and pushed me against the sortation case. His face was bright red and he yelled “Don’t you EVER call me a woman!!!” He tried to fix me with a steely eyed gaze, but it loses its effect when I was looking down at him. I told him that I wasn’t talking to him, but to the group of girls at the end of the aisle and “…not to worry, you aren’t my type.” His buddies all laughed and he apologised. I was talking to him of course, but he was so pissed off there was no way I’d admit it.

I got to know Tommy better as the months went on and found that he had a kind and generous soul. He would be the first one to help someone and always had words of encouragement when someone was having a bad day. He was also the go to guy if you needed a tool of any kind. Any kind at all! His hobby was setting up the perfect shop in his double car garage. I don’t think there was a tool at the time he didn’t have at least one of, and more than likely he would have several different types of the same tool. The weird thing about Tommy is that he couldn’t drive a nail, turn a screw or cut a straight line if his life depended on it. All of those beautiful tools were pristine and never had been and never would be used, by him.

I lost track of Tommy over the years and I suspect that he has passed away by now. Every now and then I think of the lucky guys that went to the garage sale his kids had when he passed away. It would be like walking into a tool museum. I can’t say that I understood his obsession back then, but I am beginning to get it now.

I have little or no interest in anything I know about. The items I am fascinated with are the ones I have never seen before or haven’t used before. I was just going through a Chinese web site selling all manner of tools. The one that just caught my eye was a five piece set of screw extractors, I have seen them before, and quite frankly I have been tempted to buy a set of screw extractors to put in my tool box.

The problem of course is that I am cheap. The other problem is that in the 62 years I have been on this planet I have only had trouble getting a screw out four times. Three of the four times the screw was stuck in a piece of scrap wood that I was just playing with anyways. The other time I just put a pair of vise grips on it and got it out that way. Even if I had a screw extractor, it would have taken me about twenty minutes to find it in the bottom of one of those tool boxes.

Now I am wondering just who has enough stuck screws to justify buying a screw extractor? For the life of me I can’t think of who it would be. Maybe a furniture restorer or a mechanic would have the need. You know, I have some free time tomorrow; maybe I will stake out the screw extractor aisle at Princess Auto. That wouldn’t be too weird…

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