This I Believe

Tyger - Mineola, Texas
Entered on June 12, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

Tools Are a Girl’s Best Friend

My father gave me my first tool. It wasn’t much of a tool, really, and Dad wasn’t much of a do-it-yourselfer. Nor was he the kind of Dad who insisted that daughters should have their own tools. Nonetheless, when I was packing my things to move into my very own first apartment, he came up from the basement with a small, metal gizmo.

“What is it?” I asked, turning the strange thing around and around. It looked something like a primitive cork screw.

“It’s a drill,” he said, beaming. “It’s for your new home.”

“No way!” I was intrigued now. It had a metal triangular handle, perhaps like the can openers, one used to find at the bottom of a can of sardines. Attached to it, was what looked like a long-necked screw, with wide-spaced threads only a short way up the shaft. I immediately drilled into one of my boxes, stacked, and ready to load. It worked surprisingly well, considering its simplicity. Although I now own an extensive arsenal of tools, I still have that little contraption. Over the years, I bored many a hole with it, painstakingly cranking it by hand, clockwise into the wood, much like a screwdriver.

If there is one thing to make a girl feel powerful, it’s a fully stocked tool box. Somehow, it levels the playing field, and gives us women an equal chance at respectability. Showing up with a power tool, and being able to use it, definitely gives us an edge. It’s sort of like driving a muscle car, people take notice.

I’m not a freak of nature. I can sew and knit and crochet, and I’m a darn fine cook. My mother made sure to teach me all the womanly arts. But, I have an advantage. When things break, I can fix them. When I need a new, exotic looking contraption, I can build one. When my husband needs help, working on the car, I effectively assist him. And probably once a week or so, he borrows one of my tools, because his got lost somewhere in the dark recesses of his shop. He likes to brag to people about being married to a welder. I don’t boast, but I do like to show off my equipment. It’s a toss-up, which one of us has more money invested.

Tools are timeless and their value transcends decades. The hammer, which drove the nails into the house I helped build twenty years ago, slumbers patiently in my utility tool box. The head may be a bit rounded, but it can still knock a ten-penny into a two-by-four in three swings. Many of my wrenches and screw-drivers are older than my teenage son. Some were hand-me-downs, and some I purchased at garage sales, some at the tool outlet or at truckload sales. Try to steal one from me, and you’ll face down a wild tiger. I have two power drills now, but I still wouldn’t take anything for that clever, unpretentious hand borer my Dad gave me, so many years ago.

I don’t know if my father had a purpose for giving me that drill. Perhaps he was just having some fun with me. It may be that his gift meant so much, because he attached no significance to it, or because it wasn’t coupled with well-meaning advice, teenage daughters resent so much. Whatever his intention, he set me on a path to independence and self-confidence.

Diamonds have their merit, but my experience tells me, that the true best friend of today’s modern woman is a voluminous collection of top quality tools.