Writer at Large

Writer at Large by Bob Karolevitz I've got lots of tools, and � I'm happy to say � they are all arranged ever so tidy on pegboard in our garage.

Unfortunately, Phyllis does not think that just organizing the equipment is enough.

"You're supposed to USE those tools," she says.

"Meanwhile, the faucet leaks, a board is loose on the barn and the gate by the hayhack is sagging," she bemoans. "If I weren't so busy cooking meals, doing laundry and washing dishes, I'd fix them myself."

Boy, she really knows how to hurt a guy!

Those things were all on my stuff-to-do list, but first I had to straighten the tools on the wall. Martha Stewart wouldn't want a messy garage now, would she?

Phyllis obviously is not much of a Martha Stewart fan. She's more of a Tim the Tool Man type. No question about it, she doesn't know how critical a clean workbench is.

"Ha, you call that a workbench?" she questions. "The last time any work was done on it was in 1997 when you took apart a vacuum cleaner, promising to fix it. I think the pieces are still there."

I'd argue with her, but she probably has it written down in her diary, and I'd lose. Actually, I can still get that danged vacuum cleaner working again � if I could get the spare part that I need.

But I digress.

It's important to have the right tools for the job, I always say. That's why I have a wide variety of screwdrivers, pliers and monkey wrenches. That last item gave Phyllis another opening, I'm sorry to admit.

"A monkey wrench should be your favorite tool, she says, sardonically, "After all, you've been monkeying around when you should be doing something useful."

I asked her for a banana, as my way of injecting a little humor into the conversation � but she wasn't laughing.

I suppose I should make better use of my tools, though, but they look so nice up there on the pegboard. Besides that, the last time I used a hammer, I hit the nail on my thumb, and it hurt.

I'm afraid my wife doesn't give me the credit I deserve for being so orderly. So I don't fix the wobbly stool right away or mend the antique pitcher I accidentally dropped. At least the esthetics over my � ah, er uh � workbench goes undisturbed.

It's like a religion with me. Joseph and Jesus may have used their adze, but I think they probably had a dirty shop, with lots of shavings underfoot. Most likely Mary didn't care, though, because they were making something.

Phyllis is that way, too.

She wants production; not beauty. So she needles me about my tools which don't seem to get a lot of use, but I try to ignore her.

That is, until she uses her wifely charms.

Oh, that leaky faucet? What did you say the telephone number for the plumber is?

© 2003 Robert F. Karolevitz

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