Saturday, June 04, 2011

Tool Time

When I was sixteen years old and working on my first car, I needed a Phillips screwdriver. The cheap ones my Dad had in his tool box were worn out and not too useful. So I took my freshly minted driver’s license, got in my Pontiac and drove to the hardware store.

The hardware guy directed me to some cheap screwdrivers not unlike the one’s my dad had. After I insisted that I wanted a good screwdriver, he showed me one that was equal to about 4 or 5 hours of minimum wage labor. I happily parted with my hard-earned money and finished the job.

I have used that same Phillips screwdriver almost every week of my life since – 47 years. My mantra since then has been “you have to have good tools.” That applies to musical instruments, cameras, as well as hammers and screwdrivers.

Most of the tools I have, I have owned for decades. I tend to buy the best stuff and keep it forever. That doesn’t work with digital things, but for about everything else, that has worked for me.

Today I decided to empty the contents of my six tool boxes onto my work table and have a big Tool Sort.

It turned out to be a trip down memory lane as I saw tools related to various projects and phases in my life. Specialty bicycle tools reminded me of my heavy cycling phase and some left over woodworking tools reminded me that it was ten years when I sold my woodworking shop and invested the money in musical instruments – a decision I have never regretted.

Somebody once said that the difference between people in poverty and the middle class is the people in the middle classes have tools and know how to use them. Upper class people know people who know how to use tools. I am glad I am solidly middle class.