I love the smell of lumber. I love the feel of it too. There are few things more satisfying than making a good clean cut in a nice straight two-by-four.
There’s only this one little problem, there’s no such thing as a straight two-by-four. There are very few straight four-by-fours either.
This lack of straight lumber is why I have a job. If lumber were perfectly straight and square, no one would need a contractor. Lumber would snap together perfectly. You could buy the lengths you needed and even the angle cuts would already be supplied.
At work the other day we had a deck post that had a twist in it. It wasn’t something you’d notice with just a glance. But when I put the end of the railing against it to screw-nail it in place, there was an obvious difference between my square cut rail and the twisted side of the post. I was at a loss, sometimes the screw-nail will draw the wayward piece into line. Not this four-by-four though, it was having none of my screw-gun based reform.
I asked the boss if he had any suggestions. He looked the whole thing over for all of 15 seconds … then looked at me and said “Pipe clamp.” I went dense.
I was unable to reconcile those two words into something sensible. First, I wondered why I would need a clamp whose use was to hold pipe. It took my ceased up brain a few seconds to realize that a pipe clamp is a large clamp for gluing up big items. It has a jaw that is expandable because it is made of two parts. One half of the jaw is fixed to a piece of pipe (hence the name pipe clamp) while the other half slides along the pipe.
I can’t explain why I was unable to recognize the tool that goes by this particular name. It’s rather embarrassing actually, since I own two of these things myself.
Having identified the article I instantly saw the method of use that my boss was planing. Clamping the four by four in the pipe clamp would leave a long length of pipe to use as a lever. One of us would heave on the pipe clamp while the other would screw the rail in place.
I headed towards the tool trailer to get the clamp, calling over my shoulder “Where is it?”
“In front of the front tool box.” my boss replied. I was still trying to come down to earth from the experience of not recognizing the name of something spoken in my one and only fluent language. I rummaged through the trailer but couldn’t find what I was looking for. In the end I had to call my boss over. His response was to tell me that if he walked into the trailer and put his hands on one of them he was gonna hit me with it.
Don’t worry, his abuses are limited to verbal ones and I give them back to him. We’ve been friends for a long time and we often take shots at each other. Besides, it was far more painful to suffer the embarrassment of having him point to four pipe clamps hanging on the wall right in front of me. “Oh those pipe clamps!” I said, “I thought you wanted a six footer.” I don’t know anyone with a six foot pipe clamp.
ADHD brain fog can hit when you least expect it. The best you can do sometimes is to get past it and forget about it. There seems to be no cure for this one ADHD symptom. At least I haven’t found one. Hey, maybe being hit by a pipe clamp would work …
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Last reviewed: 27 Jul 2012