Communion Of Dreams


Now, *that’s* a manly hammer!
January 31, 2009, 3:46 pm
Filed under: Art, Humor, Violence

Sometimes, you just have to shoot Old Yeller.

OK, so what happened is this: the other day we got a phone call.  Not just any phone call.  It was from my wife’s landlord.  This was not a good thing.

See, my wife moved out of her office this past summer, after deciding to call it quits with her business partner.  We moved all her stuff out, but she’s been waiting for someone to sublease the place since.  Earlier this month that actually happened, and the new tenant was due to move in next week.  Then we got the call.

No, not what you expect: the deal didn’t fall through.  Rather, there was, shall we say, a complication.  A complication in the form of one large framing table, about 50″x54″.  Built like a bloody damned toll bridge: massively over-engineered.  And painted the same battleship grey.

This large table used to be mine.  It was in my gallery for the whole time we were in operation.  When I closed the gallery, my wife and her partner thought that they could use it for flat files (it had solid plywood shelves just for such purpose).  When she and her partner split up, the partner said to leave the table and she’d use it.  And now it was left there in the office, and the landlord called us to tell us we had to move it this weekend.  Seems that the ex-partner was unavailable or something.

Now, I never wanted this table.  But, like taking in a puppy, I was trying to do a good deed and give it temporary shelter.  Here’s the story:  Some 13 years ago, as I was starting up my art gallery I had been in talking with the manager of another business downtown which was going out of business.  He sort of whined about how great the table was, and how bad it was that he couldn’t find a home for it, and how it was a shame that it was just going to get trashed.  I think they had gotten it similarly some years previously.  My business partner at the time thought that it would make a nifty addition to our shop, so I said that we’d take it off their hands.  Me and a couple of other guys hauled the damned thing over to my business and got it set up.  This was not an easy task – it is, as noted, completely over-engineered.  Solid 4×4 legs, boxed in sides of half-inch plywood, runners for the drawers made of 1x4s, top of three-quarters inch plywood, et cetera.  You could easily, and safely, shelter an entire family under the thing in the event of a natural disaster or nuclear war.

Anyway, when it came time to close my gallery five years ago, I had the pleasure of dragging this monster out of the basement and over to my wife’s office.  Again, I got several friends to help in the hellish task.  There was much cursing and barking of knuckles.  I thought I was free of it.

And now, at the end of January some five years later, with very short notice, I had to deal with the thing once again.

“Fine,” I told my wife.  “But I’m going to kill the sunovabitch this time. It’s coming apart – I am done moving that bastard in one piece.   If it comes apart in useful pieces, we’ll hang onto the lumber, otherwise it’ll go into the dumpster there behind your office.  But I am not moving it again.”

I loaded the necessary implements of destruction into the car this morning.  Couple of crowbars.  20 pound sledge.  Circular saw.  My good construction drill, powerful enough to twist the tops right off of screws, if necessary.

We called the landlord, told him we were coming.

Got there, he met us.  Opened up the office.  We looked around, saw the critter.  I took a look at it, couldn’t tell how it was held together with just a casual glance.

“Be right back.”  I went out to the car.

When I returned. I had my hand sledge.  I think the landlord was confused and surprised.  He looked at it, then looked at me, and said “Now, *that’s* a manly hammer!”

I said nothing, just took the first swing.  Popped under the corner of the top, testing to see what would happen.

It gave.  I went to the next corner, swung again.  Heard the squeak of nails pulling free.  Hmm.   The landlord stood there, a bit horrified at my brutality and casual violence towards the table.  He didn’t understand.

Six more swings and the top was free.  I examined.  It’d been glued and nailed.  Lots of nails.  But the glue was no longer holding very well.  In about five minutes, I had the thing knocked apart completely.  Ten minutes after that, we had it loaded into the back of my station wagon.  I let my wife talk with the landlord.

So now the parts of the dead table are in my shed.  One of these days, when I get around to turning the shed into a workshop, I might resurrect it in a more useful size.

And if so, I think I’ll paint it yellow.

Jim Downey


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