It's not about the house.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Day Six, Project Four: Remington Steal

It is definitely raining today, and so I am definitely changing the sash on those other two windows as soon as Johnny is awake. And -- although it may be presumptuous of me to assume that, just because I think I know what I’m doing, nothing could possibly go wrong worth writing about (remember the pulleys, only yesterday?) -- I’d really like to get the writing part out of the way early because I’ve got some baseball to watch this afternoon. So I’m going to write about my knife, because I really wanted to write about him yesterday but I couldn’t because I went on for too long about hail and paint and weight-holes.

Back when I was Editorial Director for Hear Music -- this would be, oh, 1996 or so? -- a bunch of us from the office went out to see Robert Earl Keen Jr. play with Fred J. Eaglesmith at Johnny D’s. Robert Earl doesn't like to come east of the Mississippi all too often, I had a bit of a crush on him (still do), and I even got to chat with him about songwriting for a while at the bar between his sets -- so I’m not going to say how much I drank or danced that night because, well, because I don’t 100% remember…

My jacket had been on the floor in a corner while I did all that crushing and chatting and drinking and dancing, and when I pulled it on the next morning to take that long ride back to fetch my grampy’s old Chevy Impala (Cecilia was her name, and she had faithfully (or maybe fearfully?) offered to wait in Somerville for me while I caught a ride home with someone who didn’t have quite as big a crush on Robert Earl) I found a stiff green cardboard box in the jacket’s right hand pocket.

Huh. Harmonica, I thought. Working where I did, it wasn’t so unusual for random, music-related things that had been floating around the office to wind up unexpectedly in my pocket or my bag. You fiddle with things, you absentmindedly tuck them away, they turn up out of the blue and you bring them back where they belong. I set this harmonica box on the nightstand to think about some other time when my brain was capable, and then forgot about it for a while.

Some time later, days or weeks I don’t remember, I saw the box still sitting on my nightstand and decided that, since no one had missed it yet, it must be mine. And if it was going to be mine, well, then, I might’s well learn to play. I opened up the hinged lid of the box, and I saw this:

Huh. That ain’t no harmonica!

Now, brand-new, in-the-box jackknives were not things that usually kicked around the Hear Music offices. I have no idea how this thing got in my coat. The coat was actually a black leather motorcycle jacket, and they are a dime a dozen, so I have to assume that some poor bastard tucked his knife into my pocket by mistake (and yes, it was my jacket: other things in other pockets proved it). It was too late to bother turning the knife in to lost and found -- whoever missed it, if they were going to, would certainly have called the bar already by the time I realized it wasn’t a harmonica. So, I figured, it must be mine.

I put it on my keychain right that second and it’s been there ever since. It’s a good knife. A Remington. Clerks at stores and people sitting next to me in bars -- old men, WWII veterans who would know about these things -- have admired it. I put my keys in my right hip pocket and let the knife hang out, and it makes me feel all tough and can-do and ready for anything. I’ve forgotten about it once or twice when getting on an airplane and decided to go ahead and check my carry-on rather than hand over my mysterious Remington steal.

I actually got all excited yesterday when I realized that stringing sash cord meant cutting sash cord, because it meant I’d get to use my knife, and I really don’t get to use him that much anymore. Through the years I’ve used old Remington for everything -- from tightening the odd loose screw (before I got my girly screwdriver, of course), to cutting cheese for crackers (on the way to see The Last Poets in Providence), to trimming off the ends of Christmas trees (seriously, there’s a little saw in there and it did the job just fine -- though it was, admittedly, a tiny tree). But ever since we bought the AssVac it seems that every job has a more-specific tool made just for it, and even the random cutting jobs call for bigger apparati than old Remington could ever hope to pack.

He cut sash cord just fine though. And I discovered another use for him. If you tie the cord around his key-chain loop, you can drop him down the weight-hole, and then you don’t have to stick your arm up there through all the rusty, hundred-year-old bug poop to find the other end.

Day Six: Not accomplished yet, but I swear it will be. [It is now -- ed. 6/4]
Total Time Spent: Don’t know yet, but I’ll get back to you. [2 1/2 freaking hours]
Total Cost: Nothing.
Writing (and posting) your blog entry before you actually do the work you’re supposed to have been writing about: Priceless

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