I try to come up with one profound thought a day. Usually it smacks me upside the head like a carp, but sometimes I smack the thought. Like a man. A confident, manly man. Today the thought got to me first, and I’ll share it with you as I wipe the scales off my face: Pistol-whipping is nothing more than using a tool in a way it wasn’t intended. This profundity assaulted me as I heard a news report on the radio about a seventeen year-old girl who pistol-whipped her mother into buying her a car. According to the reporter, the mother refused to file charges because her daughter was being considered for entrance into a number of Ivy League schools, and she didn’t want to sully the girl’s chances. In addition to being hammered by an insightful revelation, I was left with a number of questions that burned my consciousness. My first question was: Why, of all fish, a carp? I suppose it’s better than getting beat up by a tuna.
What in Samantha’s Hell is this world coming to when a teenager doesn’t know a pistol from a blackjack? That’s the problem with kids today. They go to hang a picture and can’t understand why their toenail clippers aren’t pushing the nail into the wall. One of the important lessons my father taught me was to choose the right tool for the job. He also told me that if I absolutely had to pick my nose, make sure no one witnesses it. It’s important to use the right tool for the job even in this endeavor. You won’t believe the idiots out there trying to prune their nostrils with scissors.
I can look into a guy’s toolbox and tell in an instant if he knows which end of the wrench to use. This is not a veiled gay joke, either. If I see pock marks on a screwdriver handle, either he’s grabbing the first thing he gets his hands on to pound a nail, or he’s got a teething puppy lurking about somewhere. You could argue that this sort of fellow is merely utilizing good ole American ingenuity, but you would be flat wrong. Ingenuity is turning a paper clip into an ear curette for removing unwanted wax buildup. Ingenuity is going out and buying a Waterpik for the same reason. Stupidity is shoving a flathead screwdriver in your ear when a Phillip’s head can do the job.
The only excuse for using a tool inappropriately is plain old ignorance. Somebody’s daddy was taking a nap on the couch the day he was suppose to teach his little ones the First Law of Mechanics: It is always easier to take something apart than putting it back together. While we’re at it, here’s the Second Law of Mechanics: If it jams, force it. If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway. Given those two laws, you have to know which tool will get the job done. Of course, this assumes you have enough tools to make a choice. Maslow said, “When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” Every successful toolbox has at the bare minimum the following: a hammer; a bigger hammer; an even bigger hammer. Everything else is gravy. Just try using gravy as a tool. I’m still trying to clean up the mess.
I know, it sounds like I contradicted everything I said about using the right tool for the right job. Not really. What’s a blackjack but a hammer covered in leather? For that matter, what’s a screwdriver but a hammer with a flat or pointy end? What’s a pistol but a hammer with a firing pin and some gunpowder? Yes, my profound thought for the day has indeed blossomed into a practical point that has been driven successfully home: Next time, do me a favor and use a minnow, ok?