Tuesday, October 30, 2007

If I had a hammer.

The Marlboro Man was wearing his Batik linen jungle smock. He was eyeing the clock behind my head, licking his yellow-stained lips with nicotine expectation, the way I eye a a bottle of scotch.

He spoke knowingly of the political climate in Jakarta, and the benevolent despot in power there. His mind wandered from the topic, and he detoured on a diatribe about the relative quality of tobacco versus cloves in the greater regions of Malaysia and Indonesia.

My mind wandered as well.

I thought about the sexy nerdy redhead two desks in front of me. I thought about the pitcher of beer I had before class. I thought about the pitcher of beer I would have after class. I thought about the redhead again. I thought about Star Trek. I thought about my girlfriend. I thought about the redhead.

The Marlboro Man looked at the clock again, and I began to consider the ethereal nature of time. The potentiality of the future. the loss of the past, and the instant measureless moment of conversion from one to the other....

Which then, slowly, turned my thoughts to that really fantastic oversized clock that I bought for my bedroom, which continued to lay in its box next to my book shelf at home. It sat there, mostly, because I was unable to hang it on the wall. Sure, I had the requisite nail. It's just, I didn't have a hammer

I didn't have a hammer.

I didn't have a hammer.

I didn't have a hammer.

I couldn't get that thought out of my head. The trail of thought had curved back into itself and formed a loop. I lost the trail of the lecture on southeast Asian politics. I lost the scent of the redhead. I forgot about the beer.

How could it be?? I had a saw. I had a socket wrench. I had screw drivers.

I just didn't have a hammer.

Maybe class came to an end. Maybe I wandered out early. I really do not know. I was obsessed. I was crazed. However, it wasn't like I had a large carpentry project waiting for me. Nor, was it like I couldn't borrow a hammer. It didn't matter. I needed a hammer.

I navigated my truck out of the parking lot, and down from Kellogg Hill, considering my options. It had to be a good hammer. A big hammer. A tool to pass the test of time. "Craftsman," I concluded, and drove toward Sears.

A short time later I stood facing the wall of hammers. Steel heads, wooden handles, some with steel shanks and rubber grips. I weighed the options, literally. I swung at invisible nails. I imagined the Viking war-hammer forebears of the domestic nail-drivers before me. I took my time. I sensed the importance of this decision, but eventually settled on a selection.

It was the Craftsman 16 oz. rip-claw hammer. The head and handle was made from a single solid piece of drop-forged polished steel. The Solid steel handle was wrapped with a durable air-cushioned slip-resistant grip and it had a hickory plug in the head to absorb shock. For good measure, it had a deep throat design for power strokes.

It was perfect, and I purchased it. I finally had a hammer.

And I still do. I love my hammer. It hangs in the same place, and I always know where it is. It's been through new homes and house remodels, apartment changes, job changes, and a countless legion of nails. It is beat up, scratched up, paint-splattered and oxidized. It is nearly two decades old, but it is my hammer. Perhaps someday, with continued care and proper handling, I will be able to pass it on to my children.

Here's a picture!


  1. This was all about your penis somehow, wasn't it?

  2. "It had a deep throat design for power strokes" I take it you were thinking about the redhead again when you wrote that.

    Is it just me or did going to Cal Poly go by at light speed?

    Everyone needs to look at www.3wishes.com and pick out their favorite costume.

  3. I love my old tools too. There is something comforting about them. Most of them I aquired when I got married or for discreet projects. They all have memories and history. Swing that hammer down.

  4. Anonymous9:15 AM

    Have you heard of the expression, Dumb as a bag of hammers?

  5. Lucky Red8:28 AM

    As I watch the construction workers outside my window bending steel and wearing tool belts that weight more then me, I think to myself, "God, I need a hammer. I really need a hammer."


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