Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tooling Up

Brovic - Blogging Since 1903

KHUK KHAK, Thailand - 'I will achieve happiness if only I could get that angle grinder.'

Once you've been ripped off for all your tools three or four times, the experience leaves you feeling violated, of course, but also, tool-less, so to work, you must go back out and re-purchase those same tools once again. Question is, do you buy the good shit, only to have it stolen, or the cheap shit, in anticipation of passing it along to someone else.

I used to carry the good shit. Craftsman, Black & Decker. 'A workman is only as good as his tools,' some people will say. Old worn tools, passed down from dad's hands. All that stuff is gone. No need to lament too long. Be happy that someone got some good tools, cheap, for drinking money.

'Tall ones' (16 oz.). A case. Enough to kick Indian ass and end up in jail. Not for the theft of the tools, but for what the tools bought.

So, in the end it's all paid for. At my end, I go out and buy the cheap stuff in the bargain basket at Ace. I use it until it breaks, and then I go get the good tools, after all. If you've got the proper tools, you can do all kinds of things. You got a camera? You got a computer? You got a back hoe?
You got an off-shore drilling rig?

I got the heavy-duty Makita planer last year so I could immediately loan it to Marc, straight out of the wrapping, who was building tables for his restaurant at the time, and last week I broke down and finally bought my second heavy-duty impact drill so I wouldn't have to keep asking Damon to borrow his.

And just yesterday, I went for the angle grinder so I can re-ignite the shower caddy operation.* Did you know coconuts are a hard nut to crack? Harder than Chinese arithmetic.

Over here in Thailand I've had my tools removed, along with...awwww, I don't need to list all the stuff Thai and Indians have taken from my home during my long absences. They've stolen nearly everything I, laptops, cameras, artwork, star quilts, ceremonial drums.

Here, if you want people to leave it alone, you've got to leave the key in the ignition of your motorbike, the door to your house wide open. On the rez, you need 50,000 volts of electrified fencing.

Choice is mine - give up your tools or your aching joints. I go for following the sun, ducking South Dakota blizzard and Southeast Asian monsoon. Best bet is to put down tobacco, burn incense and ask for spiritual guard dogs.

Ask for guard dogs and give it all away before you leave. Feels good. Somebody's going to need that chainsaw this winter, anyway, and the battery charger, for sure. Can't take it with you, they say. Can't take it with you on the flight, and can't take it to the grave. Forget the guard dogs and electrified fence idea. Give it away.

We were talking at dinner with the Swiss and Germans about happiness and how it may result as a by-product of lifestyle rather than the pursuit of acquisition of 'things'. 'My friends at home have all the newest gadgets, but I would rather have the plane ticket,' said the young visitor from somewhere near Saltzburg.

Still, at times, to be happy, some things you've just got to have. Food, shelter, comfortable shoes, contact comfort, sex, all those esteem needs, some chairs for people to sit around on, a decent ride, diapers and a gallon of milk, a get-away, a raise, an angle grinder.

- end

*The Shower Caddy operation. I see this can happen only with the employment of the Myanmar tag team. After just three caddies, even with the proper power tools, I grew disenchanted with the project and moved on to something else. The demand is there. The demand is there. I've just got to produce the supply.