tricks of the trade

image courtesy of photo

The old timers learn how to fix, compensate, and overcome adverse scenarios regardless of the craft. Most of the tricks of the trades are passed down, but some are invented on the fly out of sheer necessity or desire.

Before the age of magnetic hammerheads, we were taught to hold the head of the nail on the side of a hammer and jump up to stick the nail in the just out of reach areas then use the full length of the hammer from below.

Some of the most intriguing tricks of the trades had to do with self-medicating injuries. When it comes to construction, wounds just come with the territory. It takes a fair amount of pain to motivate a human to inflict additional pain in order to bring delayed relief.

One of the tricks of the trades to stop a gushing wound is to pour some gasoline on it. It burns like lighting yourself on fire for a spell, but it cauterizes a wound like magic. If you drive enough nails by hand, eventually the law of averages are gonna run you down.

There’s no feeling exactly like smashing a thumb or finger as hard as you can with a massive hammer… The pain is fierce and constant for days and there is no relief from it until the blood pumping under the finger or thumbnail is set free.

Newbies always try to hold out from using the old timers tricks of the trades, but the agony has perfect persuasion. The ordinary ole paper clip is straightened, the match or lighter flame held to the tip of the wire until it’s glowing orange.

The paperclip turned searing medical device is rolled back and forth between the thumb and forefinger drilling the hot tip into the nail. Teeth are gritted, the scowl uncontrollable as the tip burns through the nail. The boiling blood erupts from under the nail and the pain mixed with relief brings a new understanding of the old analogy, “Hurts so good”.

I don’t work with my hands or back like I used to, but occasionally a situation arises when I’m compelled to… like remodeling my daughter’s first home.

After close to twelve hours on my knees in the sweltering Arizona Spring, despite having kneepads, skin softened by plenty of sweat, flesh gave way and ripped clean off my knee. In years long past I’d invented a trick of the trade to turn the knee pad around and use the knee cap area to lean on instead of the area right below it.

I considered using that ole trick of the trade… for about half a second. Using tricks and shortcuts can only take you so far. When the tricks don’t work anymore something has to change… That’s the most difficult type of change; changing ourselves.

Whether change happens supernaturally in an instant or after decades finally bring some wisdom, I believe it’s all divine intervention or inspiration.

I got off my knees and let some air begin to burn and heal the torn flesh… but I’m still old school enough and have learned enough tricks of the trades to swap places with one of my guys and do the cutting instead of the tile laying… even after the tile saw snatched a piece of tile out of my soggy hands and a slice outta my right forefinger.

Thank God for superglue… and another trick of the trade.