tool

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3 responses to “tool

  1. bed of lamb 666

    Seventeen, having a bowl of cereal on a Saturday afternoon, in the kitchen, reading the side of the Cheerios box. Dad comes in, sits down, asks me how it’s going with my girlfriend. I don’t recall replying, but I probably mumbled that she was OK, or nodded and slurped some type of acknowledgement. Dad said “make sure you keep your tool in your pocket.” That started and concluded any sex talk either of my parents had with me over the duration of my alleged promiscuous life.

    I most likely nodded and slurped some type of mortified acknowledgement as he got up and walked away. I finished my Cheerios and had no idea that in the future, there were many instances I should have listened to him.

    If there were cell phones back them, I would have sent text messages to all my friends.

  2. Surly Temple

    I broke a man last night. I didn’t shoot him in Reno just to watch him die, though; this one was purely on accident.

    Standing in the kitchen, my arms full of aluminum foil and wax paper and parchment paper and saran wrap boxes, I said “Where would you like me to put these? The holders are all full.”

    That’s when I saw his sanity go. There only seconds before, my question sent the last tenuous hold he had on his rationale sliding away like an ice cube across the hood of a car in July. It’s always in the eyes first, a faint glazing over that could mean tears but most often results in a much more ominous ending. The lips thin, the nostrils flare, the posture somehow shifts as though he is hearkening back several hundred thousand years to a more primal state and preparing to launch the thigh bone of a mastodon directly into the skull of his ramepithecine cousin because he won’t stop cracking those goddam hazelnuts with his teeth.

    “Just put them…” he said, wanly gesturing toward the cupboard with the full holders in question, “…just put them…well…” He bent down to remove the box of sandwich baggies, but it wouldn’t come out gently. After a five-second struggle, he gave in to the deep, dark urges and just ripped the box from the holder in a frenzy of irritation. Then he threw it on the floor, baggies wadded and crumpled, but not as crumpled as the recesses of his soul. “There,” he said, and I watched the brief rage drain out of him as quickly as it had come. “I’m sorry you had to see that,” he added in a forlorn tone.

    “I’m sorry too,” I said, and I meant it, but not the way he did. I was sorry that he’d been driven to that point, although it was kind of fun to see him get angry for even those few seconds. It was still nowhere near the amazing display that I personally would have put on (when I reach that point I have been known to run from room to room shrieking “It all goes! IT ALL GOES! I’m gonna burn it all, so help me God, I am going to become an ascetic!”), but I was sincerely sorry because I’ve been there. We’ve all been there.

    Let’s face it; moving sucks.

    There is always that moment in moving where the average person has Had Enough. The circumstances may vary, but the timing is usually at the end of the second hard day, and that is when you are officially Done. Except you’re not done, and that’s part of the problem; no matter what you say or do, your house is still two-thirds full of cardboard boxes that started off neatly labeled and color coded, but by the third day of packing evolved to pulling drawers out, dumping them into the box, and sealing it up with packing tape because then at least it was done. If accurately labeled, these boxes would read “Upstairs Bathroom closet – ratty towels, wastebasket, toothbrush holder and soap dispenser in the old colors before I redid the bathroom, used toothbrush, hair gel, loose throat lozenges, bobby pins, residue-laden bottle of expired Pepto Bismol, one bedroom slipper, box of dryer sheets, and a tool chest containing egg timer, fifteen washers, and a lug nut.” And now you’re in your new home, and you have to find a place for all of this stuff, when you didn’t necessarily want to take it in the first place but you’d already taken fifteen garbage bags and a hibachi to the Salvation Army and were not going back again.

    Having people there to help doesn’t help really, either, because your options are either to let them put things away for you, which means you then get the fun of having every day like Easter as you try to figure out where the hell they put the crockpot (eventually discovered in the study, next to the Christmas decorations, in a box labeled “Specky dirndl warfleburgers & grotsvl plemuns”), or they keep asking you where you want them to put things. It’s very nice that they are asking, but requires you to make decisions, and you are already overwhelmed to the point that you cannot make a decision. You’ve already had to make decisions about the sofa placement, a plan of action for when you discover that there’s no way to hook up the ice maker, and that you cannot get your dining room table through the front door. Asking you to make decisions right now is tantamount to asking a velociraptor to babysit. And the velociraptor would probably be nicer, because velociraptors do not care if they ever find the box containing dish towels and the handset to the cordless phone. “Where do you want this to go?” or the other variant, “Where did you want me to put this?” are such leading questions that it’s better to pretend you cannot hear them because you are deeply involved in the meticulous sorting of area rugs. Chances are they will just shrug and make the decision on their own, and after they go you can remove the potted plants they’ve jammed into the candle wall sconces with no one’s feelings hurt.

    Personally, I don’t mind helping people move. Cleaning the new place is exciting, and when you help people unpack you’re helping them get settled into a new life—even more exciting. Moving gives you a chance to start over. It’s that fantastic analogy of life itself; you get the chance assess what you have and determine what really matters, and what’s just taking up space. Even if it’s just across town, you’re entering a different epoch in your life. You’ll have new neighbors, new grocery stores, new restaurants and routes and household routines. It’s exciting to move, and when you help others you get to taste a little of that change vicariously.

    Plus it gives you the chance to quietly leave them little “nuggets of joy” in various places. I am looking forward to the ensuing hilarity that this particular friend will have in his life when, through the coming years, he happens upon the truly tasteless pairs of panties tucked into creative little hidey-holes.

  3. stewartparker

    Poor women.
    Surrounded by tools.
    Tools, tools, tools.

    Tools that care more about the:
    Game,
    Playstation,
    Fight,
    Muscles,
    Cars,
    Beer,
    Blah.

    Re-runs over conversations,
    Anything over a romantic stroll,
    “The Terminator” over “An Affair to Remember.”

    Tools.

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