I am not exactly a handyman. My father, who was in most other respects an admirable role model, gave me precious little help in this respect, and I maintained my ignorance by opting out of shop class in favour of home economics when I was forced to choose between the two in junior high school. As I saw it, home economics meant making food and talking with girls, while shop class meant mostly an increased likelihood of severing my arm with an acetylene torch. The choice seemed obvious to me.
In retrospect, however, I could probably have used some of the skills that were being taught in junior high shop. Though I do try to build and repair things around the house when I am capable of it, the fact is that I am not very often capable of it, and the projects that I undertake tend to involve much frustration and profanity. I always have great plans. It is the implementation that gets me.
This was the case once again when I set myself to build a three bin composter to replace our mostly useless black plastic one. I brought home a bunch of old wooden pallets that I found by the side of the road and then dissembled them into their component parts, with reasonable success. I measured the space, drew up a design, and set to work. It quickly became apparent, however, that the dimensions, which had seemed very reasonable at the design stage, were producing a composter that far exceeded the needs of any home.
It is large. It looks as if I am building cattle chutes, or shipping something overseas circa 1900, or farming goats: that kind of large. I am thinking of renting space to the city’s troubled composting program or of advertising myself as the neighbourhood lawnclippings depot, just to fill the thing.
I am not sure whether junior high shop could have prevented this situation, but I prefer to blame these kinds of fiascos on the gaps in my education rather than on my own an essential inability. It is easier on my pride.