Defective Shelving Units

A few years ago I put up a shelf in our bedroom. On a slant. It sits a few things comfortably, at an angle. Thinking I’ll leave it as an artistic expression for whomever owns this house next. I could even name it something. I’ll call it “a seemingly wasted effort with meaning”. Ebay has all kinds of room for this sort of stuff. Someone could buy it.

My lack of any handy-man skills is something I have become quite honest about and accustomed to living with. To me, being handy is an acquired trait. There are few things in this life I seem to have little patience for. Elevator Music, Cribbage, and learning any handyman skills. At least I’m a wizard with housework. Gotta be good for something around the house.

One of my contractors came to visit us related to another project some time ago. When he came by, we showed him the magnificent defectively built shelving unit. We also revealed to him that a producer from reality tv show “Canada’s Worst Handyman” had been at the home. He spent the rest of his time at our house convulsing with random laughter. Could you blame him? I assisted him in when he re-built our back porch. It was a miracle I knew what a damn tape measure was.

What an interesting afternoon it was when the television camera was in the home. We didn’t have an immediate project on hand prepared. We had a window with no curtain. So we decided it was time to put up a curtain.

Great. Just great. We figured it was the perfect project to demonstrate to producers how awful my handy-skills were. For several minutes I fumbled through my attempt to put up a curtain rod. It went up….Eventually. The producer kept checking with me to see if I was getting stressed. I definitely was getting really wired up. By this point I was actually starting to get good with managing my frustration so perhaps it was not showing as easily as it used to.

Somewhere in the first few seconds of that season of Canada’s Worst Handyman, viewers could see me fumbling with this damn curtain rod for a brief bit.

Men are somehow always expected to be men of skill with respect to handy-work. I used to be seriously embarrassed by my horrible lack of skill. Over time I gradually just embraced it. I joke frequently about my perceived misfortunes which have all become lessons. I look at the basic tools we have and remind myself that at least I can barely use a screwdriver. Barely meaning I will still grab the wrong one that matches the even more wrong screw head, once in a while.

Once in a while though, I may get something right. I used to spend a few days every summer having to paint something. Whether a church foundation or a patio deck, there were a few paint jobs I managed quite well. At one of my previous day jobs in Calgary, the management of a construction supply store had me paint part of their entire showroom. That paint job is likely still there on that wall.

To other men who are sorely lacking in handy skills I would say acknowledge other areas where you might be strong. Never be afraid to learn. Try to learn, and learn to have patience. Embrace the perceived weakness and turn it into a strength. It does not happen overnight.

I’m still working on it.




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