Friday, November 30, 2007

I've got this sneaking suspicion...

At last, my Carhartts
are broken in, at long last
I'm a real Whittie

Ten Things I've Learned About Being a Carpenter*:

1. It's better to dig the splinters out right away. The only thing worse than a splinter is an infected, three day old splinter.

2. Don't use the tape measure upside-down. You'll cut an inch too short every time.

3. Use a dust mask when you cut wood unless you want your boogers to look like sticky black ants.

4. When you're holding two pieces of wood together while someone else nails them together with the pneumatic nailer, be sure to yell "OW" or "FUCK" as though they just shot a nail through your hand. It's funny every time.

5. Wear gloves when you're putting on primer or paint because it's hard to get off, but that linseed oil finish is great hand moisturizer and smells really nice. Go gloveless.

6. Expect everything you bring into the shop to be covered in sawdust within 15 minutes. This includes your clothes, you bike, and your lunch. You'd be amazed what a little sawdust can do to some four day old lasagna.

7. Whenever you're using silicone caulk, be sure to make lots of jokes about "filling the crack with caulk" and such. It's funny every time. Yes, your co-workers are men in their fifties, but there's no reason why you can't behave every bit as infantile as they do.

8. The ear protection with the built-in FM radio gets much better reception if you tuck the antenna under your ear so it touches your skin. It's the only way to get NPR. I have no idea why this works but trust me.

9. PUT THE PENCIL BACK IN YOUR POCKET WHEN YOU'RE DONE, AND KEEP THAT TAPE MEASURER CLIPPED TO YOUR PANTS. You'll be needing them both again very soon. Why can't you learn this?

10. Lastly, I'll restate the most well known piece of carpentry advice in the world: measure twice, cut once. Even though this is a total no-brainer you will forget, and make mistakes on a routine basis. Fortunately (or unfortunately) your boss will also forget on a routine basis, requiring you to pose questions like "are you sure?" or "are you cutting the right piece of wood?" or "what the hell are you doing???" without coming off as insulting.

* These are not universal truths of carpentry, just things I've learned about my particular situation.

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