|I was walking up a narrow, grassy trail yesterday when a grey squirrel, obviously occupied with something else, loped around the corner not fifteen feet away. I was a bit alarmed to see a wild animal so oblivious to its surroundings. I said hello to the squirrel and it gave me a wide-eyed look of shock. It froze for a full two seconds and then shot off in the direction from which it had come. As I continued walking, I saw the squirrel running up the trail to the forest fifty yards away. It could have taken to the brush at any point, but it was fixated on finding a tree. A very big tree.
If I had been inclined to eat a squirrel, that poor animal would have been on the menu. The squirrel was lucky that it met a fat human disinclined towards eating squirrels instead of a coyote. I donít have that kind of luck. My luck with distraction tends towards gluing together a piece of furniture and discovering I have done it wrong. As bad luck goes, I often donít discover the mistake until I notice the top trim is on upside down and the glue has set.
I have been at the business of screwing things up long enough that I know where I usually go wrong. I cannot perform step two after step one. I skip to step four and then work backwards. Or, I will assume the instructions were not translated from their native Malaysian correctly. For whatever reason, unless my wife is directing, I will proceed using dog logic.
A dog looking for a lost ball will search in an apparently random manner and usually find the ball. I am not as good at it as a dog, but the techniques donít translate to plumbing or assembling furniture well, so I face an inherent disadvantage. Nor am I as persistent as a dog. Perhaps not as smart, either. I would do better if my natural logic was human rather than that of a dim dog that gives up easily, but one works with what they have. That is why I keep a robust set of materials and corrective techniques in the library.
There are some things that once screwed up, cannot be screwed down. Here are a few things to consider when dog logic has failed to ensure domestic tranquility:
How much did the piece of furniture you have ruined cost? How much are you willing to pay to avoid another lecture outlining your failures to meet the standards of a smart dog? If the figures are close, buy another piece of furniture and start over. Consider buying two.
Does your spouse go into your shop often? If not, fill it with touch up paint, wood putty, a wide variety of adhesives, a large assortment of colored tape, and spare furniture parts from previously screwed-up projects. If your spouse goes into your shop from time to time, rent a storage locker.
It is a cruel fact that the most effective materials are the most dangerous. This applies most significantly to the wonder molecule Xylene. Xylene is a common ingredient in many household cleansers. It works like a charm, but it will make the house smell like a glue factory.The US Dept. of Health and Human Services warns that, ďinhalation of vapors may cause respiratory irritation, dizziness, nausea, asphyxiationĒ, and " Aspiration of material into lungs may cause chemical pneumonitis, which can be fatal". Making matters even worse is that consuming alcohol aggravates the effects.
Obviously, Xylene should be used in the morning. Put off drinking until you have finished the project. Otherwise, after the EMTs have left, you may face accusations that you have failed to meet the standards of any sort of dog.