Cane you dig it?

I just made the ugliest quick-and-dirty, needed-one-in-a-hurry project ever. It’s nothing you could shake a stick at. Literally.

Ever make a wrong move just right that you hurt something? Well, I did that this week. I wasn’t even doing anything to deserve the amount of pain I got for it – like hang gliding or bungee jumping – I was just making a stupid salad. I was working on one corner of our L-shaped kitchen counter with my favorite knife and cutting board, and as I finished with each ingredient I’d put it on the opposite corner till I could put everything back in the refrigerator at once.

When I pivoted to put the bag of carrots there, I did it just right to twist my ankle all wrong, sending a searing pain up my leg. Nothing broken, nothing damaged, but my ankle immediately began to swell and set to throbbing in pain like beating out that rhythm on the drums.

Two days later and it’s still sore, but getting better. Walking was painfully difficult so naturally, being a woodworker who can do or fix anything, I headed out to the shop. Ignoring my first instinct to just cut off the offending appendage on my non-flesh-detecting saw and be done with it, I reached instead into the most well-stocked scrap barrel on the planet and pulled out a three-foot length of 1” oak dowel. Then, from the most well-stocked scrap milk crate on the planet I grabbed a short chunk of 6/4 cherry, cut it to size, drilled a 1” hole in the center and glued it onto the dowel and sanded the sharp edges. About an hour later, bingo-bango-bongo I’m hobbling around the house like a vision of the three-legged man I’ll probably become in a couple more decades.

This emergency walking cane is, speaking with pride here, the original ugly stick. The one used on most of the blind dates you and I once had back in high school.

But let me tell you, it’s getting the job done.

A.J.

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