The Proper Tools …

November 26, 2010 6:38 AM

 Hi Folks !

 Whew, I THINK I got the passions out of my system, for a while anyway.Thank-You for the mail, good to know I am not the only “crazy” one 😎


Did you SEE the drudge report page last Saturday?  Just the headlines alone look like the entire world has gone insane ! It IS…..

I don’t know about you, but I need to write something funny, after the last few spoutings, so here goes


One needs to have good tools, and the right tools for the job.

For instance when doing sheetrock taping, I always used a 3″ wide putty knife, for putting the tape up and applying the mud. The results were a LOT of sanding, dust, mess, and hours of work.

Then I discovered a 18 inch trowel, made of thin metal so it was flexible, and could “pull” a seam so that it was near perfect and all it had to do was dry. Amazing what the right tool can do.

 Another ladder reference:

Ok as a young man, I always stripped wire with my teeth.

Yep, you read it right, my teeth, I could strip the area I needed to make a connection on just about any gauge wire, even the big stuff. Never saw it as a problem, and was faster and better than some of the cheapo wire strip tools I had purchased. The space between the canine and the next tooth was like made perfect for it, crazy huh ?

 So, one day I was working on interior telephone lines, that wire is easy, real thin, the coatings at the time were real easy. I could even strip “LIVE” phone lines, as at rest, the voltage is only something like six volts. If you made sure your teeth were dry, kept your lips from contact, and don’t let the other wires touch your skin, and especially don’t touch the end with your tongue, you could do it real quick and not even a tingle.

 In the basement, the phone wire was up in the floor joists. I needed to make a splice, so I got my ladder and climbed up broke into the line and started to strip the ends so I could make the connections. It was a tight space, and a high ceiling basement so I was near the top of the ladder my head inside the floor joist bay. I got all the wires stripped but the red one. I always do the red one last as that’s the hot one, it’s partner is the green (if you don’t know) Like I said it was a tight area, as I was splicing into the middle of an existing line so not much slack to play with. I just got the Red into my mouth, and must have had the green touching my face –

When the phone rang.

 If I remember correctly the voltage jumps to 24 volts to run the bells when a call comes in, and settles to 12-14 volt on an open connection.

Our knowing that ‘lectricity makes your muscles contract, you can imagine my whole body stiffened, in an instant, I slammed my head on the floor joist, and knocked me off the ladder which was fortunate, as a phone call always rings twice….

Quite wobbly for quite a while, I just sat there.

For a long time till the stars and that weak feelin’ goes away.

 I’ve never looked at a phone line the same way since, although I still “operate” on them live.

{I use the proper TOOLS….now}

 I did continue to strip wires with my teeth for a while, until one day my dentist asked if I grind my teeth. He noticed unusual wear on my canine 🙂 , I still didn’t put two & two together for a while. When I did, my kit then consisted of a razor knife to cut a circle on the wire insulation and pliers to pull the little piece off, as strippers were still crappy then. Nowadays they have those neato one hand strippers, just put the wire in and squeeze the handles -done.


Way back when I first started working for the state, I started as a carpenter. We had these huge step vans, like the bread trucks you see with the sliding side doors. We had the drivers stock seat on a pedestal, and an old bus seat in the front, on the passenger side there was a little bump back where my seat was, and behind us all was a wood wall separating the front cab area from the rest of the inside space.

We did insulation of homes, replacing doors and windows and lots of roof and attic work. Most jobs were done in 3 days and we moved on to the next. My personal record was 18 windows completely replaced cased and caulked in 5 days.

If you ever worked with carpenters, we are a crazy bunch. always joking and playing practical jokes. Great fun. We took our work seriously and did great work in the community for decent pay, life was good.

 Our crew chief had been on the job a long time and was burning out, and at times hard to deal with. At one point he got on a jag of firecrackers. Most of the time it was fun and funny, you’d turn a corner and bang ..made ya jump.

 One day he went to far for me, and put a firecracker in my old warm hunting cap and blew a hole in it. It used to be semi waterproof, which I needed as we spent a lot of time pulling clapboards on walls for insulation as such the roofs dripped especially on sunny days even in January. now my head would get wet.

Like a horse, when working out in the weather, you can be cold, OR you can be wet, but you can’t be cold AND wet.

 Righteously irritated, I was about done with his firecracker jag and plotted my revenge. It had to get the message across, escalate it slightly, and make him realize we were done with his antics all without crossing the line and getting fired.

 So I got me an M80

I took a cigarette, and about halfway in the length, I took a nail and pounded a hole thru it. Slipped the M80 fuse in , and scotch taped it so it all would hold together. A neato looking unit if I ever saw one. I brought it to work, and showed it to the other guys, who were properly giggling.

 At lunch we would either buy something or bring our own, and then head to the nearest cool spot crank the tunes, eat and read till it was time to go back.

So I waited until we were all done eating, and had settled in reading our various magazines and books you could hear a pin drop in the cab. Common to be lighting cigarettes, they never noticed that I lit mine. Now remembering the configuration of the cab, I sat to the right and behind everyone which gave me access to toss my contraption under the chief’s seat.  

I could hardly contain myself as I waited for the cigarette to burn down to the fuse. Still very quiet, engrossed in their reading, the effect would be amplified, and as I thought about it, I was afraid I’d attract attention, I actually had to hold my hand over my mouth.


 All three of them jumped straight in the air, in unison, the blue smoke rolling up the sides of the enclosed cab with the doors shut..

The cab filled with the smoke, and once they could move, doors were thrown back and we piled out. The guys were roaring

I ran around to the chief, who was patting himself down as small bits of paper and still smoldering tobacco were in his clothes and hair, he was most concerned with his rattail at the back, afraid it had burned. I helped put him out.

He was righteously pissed at me, and swearing and threatening, which made us roar all the louder. None of us could hear very well for a while. The guys even knowing it was coming, had no clue, being engrossed in reading the effect was most satisfying.

After I let the chief spout and get it out of his system, I retorted, that he ruined my hat, so it was his own fault and we all piped in that his firecracker jag was OLD.

Message sent and received….

LOUD and clear.

We giggled the rest of the day as we passed while working our tasks then

we went back to gluing and taping things down on each other…..




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