common threads #15: tools

Posted: August 3, 2016 in Humorous Bits
Tags: , , , , , ,


A craftsman I am not, although I can use some tools to complete certain tasks without major injury or property damage. Give me a pair of pliers and I will grip or twist or bend whatever needs gripping, twisting, or bending. Give me a screwdriver and I will screw and unscrew until I am giddy. Phillips or flathead, doesn’t matter. Give me a hammer and nail and I will artfully hang a picture. It doesn’t even have to be a hammer. A shoe works fine too. I will adjust on the fly. I can fill gaps with a putty knife, bore holes with a power drill, determine square footage with a measuring tape, and tighten bolts with a crescent wrench. On occasion I can even properly use a level. I may not be HGTV ready, but I am not completely helpless with tools, only mostly helpless.

I have a three drawer vertical plastic storage container which holds my tools. I am sure it hoped for a more purposeful life than that of a makeshift toolbox. It lacks a handle and therefore cannot be carried, limiting its portability. However, it has wheels, so there’s that. As long as no stairs are involved everything is gold. Unfortunately, I live in a three story home, so it is mostly fool’s gold. But for those job sites on the first floor I wheel it out and get busy with relatively little fuss. One of the drawers is filled with extension cords, duct tape, masking tape and, inexplicably, stencils. The other two are haphazardly filled with the various implements I actually own.

I rummaged through and admired the modest variety. They looked vaguely familiar, like relatives you haven’t seen in a decade. Among them was a thin, fancy bent metal device with a large handle. I momentarily wondered what it was until I realized it must bgarlic2e a vampire killing stake. Still I had doubts, so I pondered some more. Why would I own a vampire killing stake? I certainly don’t need one. The garlic necklace I wear at all times provides adequate protection. Sure, people pass by on the street, hold their noses and laugh, but we’ll see who is laughing when, as denizens of the undead, they turn paler than me. And if it were a vampire killing stake, why metal? Wooden stakes are more versatile. Yes, any stake through the heart would do the job, but a wooden one offers the potential added delight of splinters. If you are going to spitefully kill a vampire, you might as well also piss them off with a blast of splinters during their dying breaths. At least that’s my thinking. So if this thing wasn’t a vampire killing tool, what exactly was it? What was its purpose and how did it come into my possession? Mystified is what I was.

Research rescued me. Apparently, it was a burin. It is used to engrave or carve stone, neither of which I have ever done. Nor am I a descendant fromburin a long line of engravers. Or even a single, rogue engraver. Why would I own a burin? Suddenly, I realized how forward thinking and awesome I am. I will eventually kill a vampire. That is stupid obvious. Everybody does. It is as integral to a life well lived as oversleeping, so my time will surely come. When it does I will undoubtedly want to celebrate with a fancy vampire burial, complete with an inscribed handmade headstone which says I was the vampire slayer. Personal touches add such a satisfying dimension to any accomplishment.

There are few options for useful headstone inscription. Basically, you either write or engrave. Pens and pencils are lousy choices for writing on stone. Magic markers are better, but barely. First, the probability of accidentally smearing your carefully worded inscription is high. Second, it is nearly impossible to get that ink off your hands, which is extremely frustrating. Finally, one good rainstorm ruins your hard work. You want people at the gravesite to know you killed the vampire rotting under their feet. You don’t want them to see a headstone covered with a stream of black streaks that look like tears from an incubus. So engrave you must.

Clearly, I thought this out years ago. There is headstone engraving in my future and a solid, steady burin is exactly the right tool. I still need to learn how to engrave, but that is merely detail. I have the equipment. Even though I am mostly helpless with tools, at least I know enough to understand which one I will need to tout my vampire slaying skills. Whenever that may be.
Learn more about The Common Threads Project.


  1. Tata says:

    I would start by engraving garden rocks. “This way to certain doom,” and “Rhododendron.” Do not get lost in your engraving or trespassers will wonder what the “Rhododododododododendron” is before tripping over a raised bed produces stubbed toes and certain doom.


  2. Linda Vernon says:

    Loved this John. Everyone should have a vampire killer/headstone engraver in their toolkit, right? One that could also double as a hammer, of course. And I love your common threads idea!

    Liked by 2 people

Whatcha got to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s