Friday, December 30, 2011

When All You Have Is a Hammer

I had a simple carpentry problem.

I called a carpenter that was highly recommended as the leading carpenter, as the only really acceptable carpenter.

He brought a hammer and was very charming. He seemed Carpenterial.

I showed him the first of my problems: a nail was sticking out.

He hammered it. Then he hammered it some more. He gave me the card of a friend of his to replace the dry wall he had destroyed.

Then I showed him a sagging shelf.

He started hammering. Then he hammered some more.

I questioned if this was the best way to fix a sagging shelf. I said that surely there are more sophisticated tools for dealing with this problem besides the hammer. Didn’t he have hundreds of tools in his heavy box in his truck?

He called me a naïve nut job, with an unrealistic understanding of the world and the true dangers that faced my home. He said that this was what all sophisticated carpenters knew was the best way to handle carpentry problems.

He destroyed my shelf. But within minutes, when my back was turned, his son had replaced the fine, hundred year-old, hardwood shelf, with a particle board shelf, sloppily painted and not level. He presented me with a bill for $10 million.

Then the carpenter found other problems in my house: first a dirty window. He hammered it.

I protested that I did not need any more of his help.

He accused me of not loving my house enough and questioned whether I had the right even to live there.

He did not like the paint in my son’s room. He hammered the walls until they came down.

This continued until my house was destroyed despite my protests. He hired his cocaine-addicted fraternity brother to redesign my house for repair and presented me with a bill. He said that if I did not pay he would also repair my car.

He said he did not like the look on my face and approached me with his hammer.

As he proceeded to repair my face with his hammer I wondered how this parasite had gotten into my home, how anyone this crude could have been so highly recommended as my only choice. I scolded myself for listening to the experts and for not hiring good ole Ron down the street.

At that point my wife intervened and exercised her second amendment rights, only wounding him. I summoned all of my remaining strength and threw the bums out.

Soon after we were indefinitely detained…

Our house was given over to refugees from a previous carpentry campaign and one child was apprenticed to the carpenter, while the other child was sent off to work, to pay off the bills of our carpenter and his associates.