Monday, August 04, 2008

A Man’s Gotta Know His Limitations

Self-awareness is one of the most important things we gain as we grow older and, in some cases, wiser. I come here today to tell you that it is a very good thing, ladies and gentlemen, that I am a moderately talented businessman and able to provide for my family by applying my intellect and industriousness (note: industriousness infrequently and unevenly applied). As events of this past week taught me in stark and painful detail, we’d be in dire straits were I required to make my living by the sweat of my brow and toil of my hands.

My great-grandfather bought a house in Cape Cod in 1945, which remains in our family to this day. Over the years, it’s been expanded a little and updated slightly, but it’s still not much more than a bungalow – 1200 square feet or so with 3 bedrooms, a small kitchen, and a beautiful view of Cape Cod Bay. I learned to walk there, and so did my eldest daughter, and I’ve enjoyed the use of the little cottage immensely while contributing a decidely disproportionately small amount to its upkeep.

That changed this year, though. Sort of. In deference to my mother’s wishes and my own desire to give at least a small amount back to my grandparents for their generosity, I tackled a few small household projects during my family’s recent week on the Cape. And one of them tackled back.

My grandparents had a tree removed from the front of the house a year or so ago, but the stump that remained stood nearly a foot off the ground, and its proximity to the front steps made for a potentially dangerous situation. I was assigned the task of removing 12 inches or so from the stump to alleviate the threat. ‘Cause stumps, they can be some vicious motherfuckers.

Full of familial obligation, strong coffee, and misplaced confidence, I set to leveling the offending stump with a bow saw. 2 hours later, I’d made some progress, but my lack of sawing proficiency and, more importantly, patience led me to seek an alternative method. Off to the hardware store for a hatchet then, because what’s more manly than hacking away at a chunk of wood with a big-ass cleaver. Nothing, that’s what.

To this point, I felt great physically, with the minor ache in my shoulders and back a well-earned and almost pleasing reminder of the hard labor I’d supplied. I returned to the stump with a renewed vigor, hatchet in hand, and commenced chopping the ever-loving shit out of my wooden nemesis. And 15 minutes later, my soft, white collar hands looked like this:











Five days of saltwater immersion and antibacterial treatment returned my baby-soft paws to something approximating normal, and so Saturday morning I donned a pair of sturdy work gloves, grabbed the bow saw, and evened the score at Stump 1, Me 1.

So what have we learned, then, gentle reader? For sure, I’m an idiot – let’s not ever forget that. Also, when attempting manly chores, it’s best to appropriate all the relevant manly tools. Work gloves seem in retrospect to be an obvious part of this particular chore, but as we know, I’m an idiot. Fortunately, both lessons came at relatively minor cost this time, and neither stopped me from fulfilling Mark’s most hopeful expectation, as seen below.










Anyone need a toilet fixed, or some shingles replaced? Yeah? Call a professional, then, dummy.

13 comments:

Geoff said...

A couple paragraphs in I was thinking this was going to be about you losing a finger or two... I don't wanna say I was "disappointed" it was only about some middle-aged (ha) guy getting a blister...but I was.

TJ said...

You really do have some tiny hands and feet...scary.

rob said...

oh, that's not just any blister, my friend.

Mark said...

You're middle aged...

rob said...

well, yeah, if you want to measure things chronologically.

Zoltan said...

Did you damage your schpank hand or your schpunk hand?

Greg said...

You guys are just so mean. Rob is pouring his heart out about some hack-job he did on a stump and all you can do is poke fun.

rob said...

i was actually trying to perform a valuable public service, greg, but it seems that - once again - people revert to tired stereotypes in response.

to wit,

geoff is a dick;
teejay is preoccupied with my genetic superiority as evidenced by my perfect proportions;
mark is an ageist;
zoltan thinks constantly about masturbation;
and you are a compassionate human with deep resevoirs of caring

rob said...

and whitney is missing.

Geoff said...

Zoltan sounds like he may be a big Chaz Haley fan.

Mark said...

How is removing a stump from your property a public service?

Were you passing out food stamps to the homeless population of Cape Cod whilst using the hatchet?

rob said...

the public service was warning you of the dangers of unprepared white collar manual labor.

TJ said...

Did someone say P.S.A.?

"I learned it from watching you"