As hard as it might be to imagine, when I'm not testing tools, writing about tools, reading about tools, or seeing how tools are made, I seem to be talking about them–all the time.
I'm not complaining. I love talkin' tools, which I guess you'd expect from the editor of a magazine called Tools of the Trade. It comes naturally to me; I've been talking about them since I was a boy sneaking my dad's Yankee screwdriver out of his toolbox. (In fact, my mother told me recently that my first word was "Amp," but that's another story.)
When I was finally in the trades and on the job, I used to have to cram my peanut butter and jelly sandwich into my mouth during the last five minutes of my lunch break–because I'd spent the first 25 minutes jawboning about tools with my buddies. Then, of course, it would take me another hour to get the peanut butter off the roof of my mouth and nobody could understand a word I said.
Things haven't changed since then. Tools follow me everywhere, even when I'm off the clock. Just last weekend, while dangling on a chairlift 75 feet above the soft spring snow in the back bowls of Vail during a fantastic last day of the ski season, I found myself locked in with a total stranger debating the pros and cons of lithium-ion batteries. I have no idea how this happens. It wasn't like
I was wearing a Tools of the Trade ski hat or anything. It's as if someone had planted a sign on my back that said, "Talk to me about tools." I guess it's just my fate.
Or it could just be my nature. I'll run into our local McGuckin's Hardware store here in Boulder, Colo.–where they have a killer tool department–and even though I went in for some glue, two hours later I'm standing there with one of their customers describing how the tool he was considering performed in one of our tool tests. I'm thinking about asking for one of the famous green vests McGuckin's service experts wear so I can go on the clock when I'm in their store.
But my experience earlier this spring takes the cake. I was sitting in a tiny Costa Rican rain forest restaurant, on vacation about 2,400 miles from home and a zillion miles away from even thinking about tools. But just 4 feet away, at the next table, was this great guy from Montana who was not only a builder but also a Tools of the Trade reader (Hi Jason). So there I was in the middle of nowhere and once again I was talkin' tools (and setting up an old reader as a new tool tester). I'm back to thinking about fate here.
But often I bring it on myself, even at home, with my fiancée who was New Mexico's first licensed female general contractor and almost has more tools than I do. Who else do you know would give the woman he was courting an 18-volt cordless drill kit on their second date? Don't laugh. It worked.
Talk to you later.