Today I had simple task to do. Something that should have taken, oh, about 10 minutes tops. But because I remain the ‘Unhandy-Man’ (motto: measure once, cut twice) it lasted for well over 30 minutes.
The sliding door to our laundry closet was off track. Seemed simple enough. Just pop it back in and be done with it. Back to the writing job at hand.
Not quite. I ended up with a smattering of tools, some questionable for the job. In my possession—eventually—were the following: a hammer, vice grips, flat-edged screwdriver, a hacksaw, pliers, wire cutters, and metal snippers. What I did not mention was I did not have all these at the same time. But then, that would have made sense, wouldn’t it?
I ended up making several trips up and down the stairs to the garage, searching for one of the tools. All the ensuing expletives terrified my dogs. I now have a crick in my neck from shaking it from side to side, cursing myself for being such an idiot.
I managed to get the ‘springy-thing’ (whatever the hell that is called) back in the track but it seemed I managed to destroy part of the track during the repair. My remedy? Put several pieces of duct tape over the mangled part so the spring doohickey will not come off.
Now we can close the doors and yes, there is that unsightly slight piece of tape showing, but at least we can close them. Although you cannot open the doors fully because of the tape. But still, we can do the wash with that slight obstacle.
The reason I am mentioning such trivial things and why I titled this post ‘Toolbox’? It’s because I recall the title of a chapter of the same name in Stephen King’s excellent book, ‘On Writing’. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you purchase it, read it, put it on your bookshelf, and then pull it out frequently. It is an indispensable guide to the craft of writing.
Anyway, this chapter (page 111) talks about when Stephen was a kid, and he was visiting his Uncle Oren. The old man would teach him how to fix things around the house, lugging this immense toolbox around with him when he only needed one screwdriver to do the job.
Steve thought about it and then asked Uncle Oren why, if he only needed a screwdriver, he carried that heavy box around with him. Uncle Oren said, “Well, Stevie, you never what else needs fixing around the house.” (paraphrasing)
Evidently, I’m still learning that lesson. And it’s not only for around the house, with actual tools, but with my own writing, to stock my writing toolbox with the correct tools for whatever task is at hand. (Just read the chapter; Mr. King does a better job explaining the entire process.)
My wife hasn’t come home yet from work. I can’t wait to show her my handiwork, despite the glaring strip of duct tape staring back at you.
Good thing the laundry is tucked away in a dark hallway.
Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2018, All Rights Reserved.