Unequivocally Ambiguous

Humorous Stories on Parenting, Culture and Life

Seriously Handy Handicapped

by | Mar 22, 2024 | Relationships | 0 comments

Swinging a hammer to increase my height — Part 1

I spent nearly a decade as a construction manager, even though I can’t swing a hammer to save my life.

I mean it.

I am the least handy person you will ever meet.

My parents divorced when I was young, and there are not a lot of benefits to being a kid of divorce, but one minimal benefit is that you can blame everything you are not or do not do on your dad being gone.

So, I blame my dad for not showing me the way around tools.

I also like to blame Colombian society because regardless of your status, poverty in the country was so dire that you could always afford to hire help to do the jobs you did not like to do.

I never really experienced the necessity of learning the art of pounding a nail into the wall.

The truth is, I wasn’t all that interested in learning.

Instead, I wandered around the streets with my friends, played soccer with makeshift balls, got into fistfights or rock wars with other boys, and climbed roofs.

Basically, I was busy being a boy.

That was fun.

Hanging a frame, not so much.

I just can’t swing a hammer to save my life.

I’ve tried.

I have been the man of the house for way too long. I was promoted to the job at 8 when my parents divorced. That’s when my mom told me, “Eres el hombre de la casa.” (You are now the man of the house).

I wasn’t on track for the job. I didn’t apply for it. I had no references.

I was just pointed at and promoted.

People are right; it is not what you know but who you know. My connections got me the job.

And I took the job seriously.

Part of the job description was investigating loud noises coming from the house. If I heard a noise, I couldn’t expect my mom or my younger sister to find out what was going on.

It was up to me to find out what was happening.

I always excelled at this part of the job.

I would always wake up and run toward noises, even though I never knew what awaited me.

I never found anything.

When I moved in with my wife, I knew that part of the job would remain. I would have to investigate suspicious noises.

At different times during our marriage, I have gone to bed storing in my night table everyday household items that could be turned into weaponry if need be.

I have stored my camping knife there even though I have never gone camping. The knife for soft cheeses — the one with the green marble handle we got as a wedding gift and does an excellent job of spreading Brie on crackers.

Once, I stored a stainless steel pan — which is only weird when the pan is bigger than 8 inches. I have never violated the size requirement, and it is not gross because it was stainless steel that was meticulously seasoned with Celtic salt for over 45 minutes.

I have also stored hammers there, sometimes regular size and sometimes small size, like the one that my father-in-law gave me. When he found out I didn’t have my toolbox, he took it upon himself to get me one.

Maybe someone would’ve been offended by the toolbox.

It was a craftsman set, and every tool had a matching green and gray color. It looked like something you would get a kid to ensure that he would be handy when he grew up, which I am not.

Maybe someone would’ve been offended by the toolbox.

But I wasn’t. Why can’t you look good when completing the honey-do list around the house? Which I am not allowed to do either.

No, sir, I’m not.

My privileges were revoked when we moved out of our apartment in San Diego, and I brought down the frames I hung.

My craftwork was on full display then. After three years of living there, our walls were immaculate except where the frames used to be. Those portions of the wall were covered in holes like Swiss cheese.

So, my wife confiscated my hammering privileges.

The only thing I didn’t appreciate about that Craftsman toolbox is that the tools are smaller than regular ones. It’s almost like I couldn’t be trusted with regular-size ones, as if there was a probationary period I needed to go through to earn the privilege of having men’s-size tools.

I quickly got over it because, again, I can’t swing a hammer to save my life.

And I mean it.

Several times, intruders break into our house, and I rush to meet them only to find myself weaponless in front of whatever book fell from the bookshelf because I left the hammer on the nightstand. My subconscious knew I wouldn’t do anything with the hammer anyway.

Some guys say their hands are the most lethal weapon they could have. But not mine. I have the kind of hands you ask someone to get something that fell out of reach under your fridge; they can also make you a nice gluten-free cashew butter and raspberry chia jam sandwich.

I can’t stress it enough; I’m not handy.

When someone gets up on a ledge and is ready to jump, I can’t build a ladder with my hands. But I can build bridges with my words. And that’s how I ended up working in construction.


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