Today's on again off again rain is very taxing if you are trying to paint some projects and let them air dry in the sun. It is a merry go round of take in, the rain stops, take it out, the rain starts, take it in, repeat.
During this little dance with the rain gods, I
recalled an earlier time when I was not as patient as I am now. If you
laughed at that statement, clearly you did not know me 20 years ago.
Being the inventor/artist/nosy Nellie, that I am or was, I decided that
since it was going to rain every fifteen minutes and quit long enough
for me to haul everything back out in the sunshine to dry only to have
to repeat the process, I would come up with a better solution. Now right
then where I should have looked at the Weather Channel to see what
would be a good day to paint and let dry in the sun, but hell, I don't
need no stinkin' Weatherman/woman to tell me that. If it won't dry
naturally, I'll do it artificially.(Sorta sounds like that tag line,
"Hey, fellas, I wonder what will happen when I ....!)
Like any good
handyman, I have a heat gun lying around that is seldom used. Now a
heat gun is much like a lady's hair dryer, just on steroids and PCP and
Speed, with a little diet pill to even things out. They are normally
used to heat the paint on wood just enough to make it turn loose from
the wood, so that you can take a large putty knife and scrape it away
and save hours of time or paint strippers or sanding. The only problem
is it takes a very delicate touch and keen attention, both genes that I
seem to have been born without. What I lack in natural talent, I can
always make up in bravery(that;s city talk for stupid).
utility table, I had my boards that I had just painted and taken back
out for third time. I had the extension cord plugged in and ready, along
with the "ACME HOTTER THAN HELL HEAT GUN", much like the one that Wiley
Coyote sometimes uses, another ignored red flag.
I will take a
moment to crow and say that I was being unusually careful and attentive
to my work, an anomaly for me to be sure. Then it happened. I confess
that I have the attention span of an goober hull---on a good day. I used
to say that I had the malady that all 'artists' are afflicted with,
that special brand of ADD, OCD, or any combination of letters that meant
I could not stay focused. I no longer make excuses and attempt to tag
along on the coat tails of real suffers. I CAN NOT STAY FOCUSED!
had finished drying a few boards to the degree of readiness that was
needed, when my gaze slipped past the lumber on the utility table to
another table where there were many cast iron toys I had been pricing
and getting ready to box up for the next sale. THEY ALL HAD GOTTEN WET,
and in just a minutes nature would take its course and they would begin
to put on a light coat of rust.
I walked over to where the iron
pieces were sitting on the table and began to give them a blast from my
HEAT TERMINATOR. Like magic all the fronts were dry in an instant. Now
for the backs. A quick science lesson, cast iron is a GREAT conductor of
heat, hence all the millions of cast iron stoves invented and sold
since Ben Franklin's day!
As I picked up the first piece, I did
not even get to the point of rotating my wrist when the pain from the
DEATH RAY heated iron reached my brain. I immediately tossed the piece
about five feet straight up in the air. In the mili-seconds that it took
that little piece of cast iron to make the trip up and back down, I
realized that if it hit the ground from that height, it would break(yes,
cast iron will break like glass in some cases--usually when heated and
owned by me). My left hand being rendered useless, I dropped the heat
gun(thank goodness they have a 'dead man's switch for just such users as
me) and proceeded to try to catch the iron with my right hand. Second
science lesson: iron will not cool off sufficiently in a 5ft. toss to be
catch-able. As soon as it hit my hand it was airborne again.
Now, I had two burned hands and was in great pain, to me at least. I ran
over to another table that held assorted tools and the important first
aid kit. I know I must have looked like Frankenstein trying to put a
model airplane together as clumsy as I was opening that box and
retrieving that Unguentine but success was not to be mine that day. I
sat down in a chair and as I was fumbling around with the cap, got a
large glob of it on the top of the tube, then I dropped it in my lap.
My wife, Janice, had witnessed the entire proceedings and was walking
past me as I dropped the salve. "Did you just see what just happened?"
In one of her rare moments of "Fractured Sayings", as we called them,
she said without breaking here stride, "Yeah, looks like you got an
ointment in the fly!"