Sure, there have been a lot of contenders over the years: words, books, swizzle sticks, a solid foundation garment. Each of these has served as a tool in its own right, opening doors for me and then, three hours later, getting me tossed right back out. But they’ve done the job.
Occasionally, as well, I’ve overcome my esoteric tendencies and turned my bleary eyes towards implements that can be wielded for practical purposes:
Indeed, I’ve always had my arsenal of little helpers (shout out to Vicodan!), those things that I grab when I need help getting through the unforgiving hour, when I’ve used my one phone call and I’m still stuck for bail.
In the last months, though, I’ve had to expand my repertoire of what I’ll latch onto in a moment of need as our household, specifically our backyard, has descended into a state of low rentitude that makes even Brett Butler recoil in horror:
First, there was the red compost bin that occupies more square footage than our bathroom. Then we added in the tetherball pole for good measure (works great as a stake upon which to dry my jerky after a good bear kill). Not yet satisfied, we broke up an uneven backyard pathway with a sledgehammer, thus birthing our third child, little Gravel Heap, before I started to add in the stacks of railroad ties that had formerly lined our enormous vegetable garden.
Because Groom had hernia surgery 6 weeks ago, he has been unable to help with any of the manual labor around the yard this summer, which is par for the course because he’s an enormous lady’s blouse even when he’s fit. His “unusual weakness” and “need to recover” relegated me to the role of Participant in the Scottish Highlands’ Strongman Competition, wherein I would heft up a railroad tie on end and then, plugging my body underneath it, heave the thing end-over-end whilst grunting to all onlookers, “Away an bile yer heid, ye baw bags! I mae be an Auldjin, and am’fair peched, but I’m crakin’ here!” Somewheres around when I was threatening the gathered gawkers with a fierce “cuddy lug,” we also added in the two black plastic compost bins, which were meant to replace the original red eyesore…but when the two bins didn’t handle half of Red’s innards, we ended up keeping all three, which has me extremely dischuffed.
Once all of the ties had added to the fray of ghetto garbage piles, I was ready to up my game and start digging kabluminous holes across the yard, uniformly seven inches deep (don’t ask me to name the tool I’m using for that measurement; I’m a demure lass)…
Oh, yes, it will help me crawl up the walk when I am whupped. For that, I love it.
Even better, Wikipedia reports of The Mattock: “The shaft is often heavier than the head, sometimes possessing twice the mass and density of a baseball bat.”
At night, I dream of The Mattock. It cuts; it slices; it dices; it eases my lot. For The Mattock, I would sacrifice from my Tool Holster the swizzle stick–a puny, flaccid lad, in comparison.
And, yes, that’s my big man leg in that photo. Get snotty about it, and I’ll clench your wee walnut head bewteen my calves and make pesto out of your brain. That cracking sound you hear just before blacking out? That’s the sound of the Jocelyn working on the chain gang.