The Curmudgeon Report: Being handy not part of his tool kit

We all have different talents. Some of us can sew a button on a pair of pants in record time. Others can’t even thread a needle and if they could, they wouldn’t know what to do with it.

I admit that I am no handyman. Never been one, never wanted to be one, and I am absolutely certain I never will become one. My tool kit consists of a hammer, a screwdriver and an assortment of screws and nails. I did have a level in there for the longest time, but since I never used it I left it behind when we moved to Wiliamsburg.

At one point, I even had an electric drill, pliers and an assortment of other gadgets in my inventory, but they rarely saw the light of day. Friends think I am exaggerating when I say my repair talents are limited, but I can cite many examples to prove the point.

Years ago, we were living in Ohio and my wife wanted a useless fence post removed. Not knowing any better at the time, she asked me to do the job. I did own a shovel, so I started digging. After some time, the fence post was loosened from the earth and I pulled it out of the ground. Proud of my accomplishment, I held it in my hand and barked out a “mission accomplished” yell. I let the post go and as it fell it hit my son on the head, resulting in a bloody noggin and a trip to the E.R. To this day, he still won’t forgive me.

A few years later, a neighbor who loved to tinker offered to convert our garage into another room. He would do the work and I would be the helper. That worked out quite well till he asked me to staple something and I somehow stapled my hand to the wall.

Not to be outdone, I tried to initiate what I thought would be an easy operation that unfortunately backfired. We owned a Pontiac station wagon that had its spare tire in a wheelwell near the back of the vehicle. For some reason, the car had a small puddle of water collecting in the wheelwell. Although it did not cause any problem, I thought I’d prove my worth and release the water.

Now, the logical way to do this would be to make a hole in the metal frame, so that’s what I did. I took that electric drill and punched a hole, per plan.

I knew something was wrong though when the sound of the drill was followed by a loud hiss as the drill punctured not only the metal fender but also the rubber of the spare tire I forgot to remove.

So, as I stated at the outset, everyone has his or her talents, and I do have mine. But they surely do not include doing something with a tool in hand.

I have many friends who are just the opposite. They have an appliance break and immediately fix it. They plan a renovation and do the work — and it looks professional. And that is what gripes me.

Maybe it is envy, but whatever you call it, my blood begins to boil when I see perfectly normal people being able to do that which is clearly abnormal. My friend Fred could fix anything, and he enjoyed doing it. When I have to change a light bulb, I shudder.

Though they never do so, I know my acquaintances question my lack of talent and snicker when the subject comes up. That snicker is worth a 4 on my blood boiling scale.

Winslow recently moved to Williamsburg, but has written his Curmudgeon Report for more than a dozen years. He wonders how rapidly your blood is boiling on this issue? Let him know at donwin16@gmail.com.

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