Date: Wed, 28 Sep 94 23:19:02 PDT
Subject: Home Improvements
Forwarded-by: bostic@CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: email@example.com (Anneli Meyer)
This DAMN House! (c)
I have come to tolerate fist fights on TV where nobody gets
hurt and the improbability of love at first sight in movies, but
what I can't stand are TV shows that outright lie.
Shows like This Old House, Home Improvement, The Jolly
Carpenter or whatever they are called have probably contributed
to more marital disputes and bodily injury than all of the sleazy
soap operas put together. The illusion that you can install a new
bath tub in an afternoon is about as close to reality as being
able to make $1,000 a week stuffing envelopes at home. These are
the shows that should come with government warnings.
"This show has been rated GC - 13 (general contractor
$13,000) This show may contain graphic depictions of home
improvement which may not be appropriate for the mechanically
impaired. Viewer discretion advised."
Just think how many bruised egos and scraped finger could be
saved with this simple warning label. Sure, you're saying "I
don't need these warnings, these shows don't effect me." Right,
but what about your neighbors and the dozens of less fortunate
souls who will want to borrow your tools in some vain attempt to
convert their hall closet into breakfast nook?
"We saw it on TV. Everybody's doing it," they'll say.
Just for balance, I'm going to start my own show and call it
This Damn House (TDH). My show will feature reality based
episodes sort of like those live police action shows.
For example: Today we're going to talk to Bob who on the
urging of some tool pushing, irresponsible, home equity
evangelist on TV decided to try to install his own dishwasher...
"Bob, looks like your knuckles are bleeding there. You
should have tightened up that pipe wrench just one more notch,
huh? And, by the looks of those puddles, you forgot to turn off
the water main before you started this project. What have you got
to say for yourself?"
"Well Dennis, I'd just like to say welcome to This Damn
House! And, if you don't get that camera out of my face I may hit
you with this pipe wrench."
"...well, thanks Bob gotta go ...I guess we'll let you get
back to work. Thanks for joining us for another edition of This
"Next week on TDH we'll show you how to use your paint
stained clothes as color swatches at the hardware store and the
best way to remove shingle nails from your tennis shoes. This
Damn House has been sponsored by Duct Tape...the quicker fixer
Yes, home improvement open up a whole new world to you
whether you like it or not. Just a few weeks ago I was in
Yellowstone, arguably one of the most beautiful places on this or
any other planet, and all I could notice was that the planks in
the boardwalk were nailed down rather than secured with wood
screws. I almost got on the phone and called my father to say
"Whatta ya mean I have to use wood screws on my deck! The
National Park used nails!"
But I caught myself. After all, in doing so I would have to
admit that I actually listened to my father's advice in the first
place -- which among men is only slightly more frightening than
asking a stranger for directions.
I'd also have to admit I didn't learn anything from my
father when I was young. When my father was toiling away on his
damn house and I could of learned something, but I was out
playing baseball or listening to Jimi Hendrix 8-tracks with my
dead beat musician friends. Now I'm trying to solve the ancient
mystery of the miter box on my own while my dad is fishing,
taking vacations and sipping ice tea in the back yard with my
There is symmetry to life, but not in anything I build.
© 1994 Peter Langston