H is for handy

Reading the manual is seldom useful.

handyI am not what you would call handy. The old saying “Measure twice, cut once” was invented with me in mind, and yet that piece of wood is STILL too long, or worse, too short.

It’s not that I’m not curious about things work. When I was 10 or so, I took apart the deadbolt on our door at home, trying to figure out how it worked. Unfortunately, I never figured out how to put it back together properly, and we had to engage the services of a locksmith.

I tried the Cub Scouts when I was eight, but they were always requiring specific knots, and I quit that in a year. Speaking of knots, I couldn’t master tying my shoes until I was nine, and wore penny loafers until then.

“Righty tighty, lefty loosey.” Need it almost every time.

I attempted to learn to play the piano when I was 12, but it wasn’t meant to be, despite hours of practice. Meanwhile, my sister learned to play guitar in a month, something I could never master either, despite the fact that my dad played.

My father did a lot of floral arrangements, for weddings and cotillions, and the like. He often brought Leslie and me along. She had a great artistic eye, and I was good at schlepping things.

I always appreciated seeing art, but creating art was another thing altogether. Once my 7th-grade art teacher gave me a B in some now-forgotten project, and my father asked her why the grade was so high. She said that it was my best effort based on my ability.

Junior high required going to what they called shop, where I could build ill-constructed wood items, and blow up pottery in the kiln. But I actually liked 9th-grade shop, dealing with metal, maybe because the machinery was so precise that I could not screw up the project.

That was a useful lesson. If I have the right tools, and I’m shown how to do it, I can do it…sometimes. Reading the manual is seldom useful. Being told how to do it almost never works. But doing a hands-on process, and having room to screw it up without destroying it, helps.

Occasionally, I CAN hang that picture without putting a large hole in the wall.

Now my buddy Amy, she’s handy!

Have to end, of course, with Weird Al Yankovic – Handy.

ABC Wednesday – Round 19

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