Thursday, May 29, 2014


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).

On the 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!

I 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!"

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