Hodge: The not-so-handy handyman needs assistance

I would like to meet the person who first theorized if you want to discover whether you are good at something—try it.

I would like to meet the person who first theorized if you want to discover whether you are good at something—try it.

Dumb idea.

Actually, it may not be wise for me to find the foolish philosopher since one of two things would occur.

He would get hurt or I would (painfully) discover that revenge is another thing I am not good at

Either way, during the past month I’ve rediscovered three things I definitely do not have a propensity for—carpentry, painting and electrical work.

My failings in such practical manly arts may be directly blamed on two factors from my youth. I had absolutely no interest in learning them and when people tried to teach me, I foolishly never paid attention.

For some reason, the idea of tinkering around with saws, hammers and other nasty pointy, sharp tools of construction or destruction never caught my fancy.

I sensed that every table saw, power drill or compressor device was simply waiting for me to come along so it could send me to the hospital.

There was never any draw for me to learn how to forge steel, bend metal, fix a lawnmower, or build a car.

During high school, I was far more interested in figuring out how girls ticked rather than clocks.

My idea of experimenting had nothing to do with beakers, test tubes  or circuit boards.

I was more interested in tuning a guitar than a car engine, or skating full speed around a hockey rink than roaring around a racetrack.

I failed to find a thrill in building go-carts, motorcycles and stereos—or  blowing up the neighbour’s garbage cans with homemade explosives.

It is not that I lacked nerve or was low in juvenile testosterone. My chaotic nature simply had other outlets.

I liked to hike in the hills for days by myself, catch rattlesnakes, body surf down rivers or flirt with girls who were dating guys three times my size.

Ironically, I wound up taking shop in Grade 10 through a process of elimination. After my bad attitude (and phobia) towards mathematics resulted in being kicked out of all three math classes available to me, my guidance counsellor had no choice but to fill that time by sending me to shop class.

Facing total expulsion from school (if I got the boot from shop classes), I compromised. I skipped out of just as many classes as I could get away with while putting my full attention to the high school parking lot.

I learned a lot about life but zilch about how to build a spice rack, engine, or kitchen sink.

There was also a fear factor involved. As a toddler, I learned my body had a weird electrical component.

I would literally get a shock by going near or touching anything electrical. Not only could I make a TV spark from five feet away, but also clocks would stop and stereos go static when I went near them.

Even today, I occasionally screw up computers, coffee makers, fax machines and microwaves. Some folks find it amusing, but I am not among them.

I prefer to blame my disinterest in tools and the trades on genetics. I come from a long line of nerds.

My brother was an electronic genius. If it hummed, buzzed or whirled Vic could fix it.

Problem was he had a short attention span,  so he was always taking radios, clocks, etc. apart to see how they worked, but never put them back together.

My dad turned his back on manly things like the trades, putting his energy into mathematics and banking.

He wanted me to follow his footsteps and become a successful businessman. I showed him. I became a starving writer instead.

Regardless, my entire diatribe today is due to the recognition that as a home handyman I suck.

A month ago, Teresa and I decided to renovate the basement so we could rent out a room.

All we needed to do was tear apart a wall or two, put in some insulation and gyp rock, fix a few outlets, and paint the place.

Well, after spending a week making a complete disaster of the wall renovations, I finally called my pal Larry who did all the renovations in two days. Another friend then mudded the walls.

All I had to do was paint the place,

Not a good plan.

Suffice to say I had originally planned to paint the roof a different colour from the walls— but not now.

Despite my best efforts the rugs sport a painted look as well, which is shocking because based on how much paint I managed to get on myself I surprised there was any left to actually hit the rugs.

And speaking of shocked, this week I remembered why I do not like things that go zap in the dark. While attempting to nail the baseboards around the newly painted room, I placed my bare back against the wall and directly onto an exposed wall outlet. Suffice to say I got a charge out of that experience and my hair is a lot curlier than it was before.

I know Polysporin is not the best for burns, but it certainly reduces the pain. I sure hope Larry knows something about electrical work.





Kelowna Capital News

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