I'm a mechanical idiot. My cousin, Jimmy, taught me,"lefty loosey, righty tighty," seven years ago. Before learning this helpful rhyme I stared at screws, helpless, bringing myself to tears not knowing which way to turn the screw driver. I did know, if I went the wrong way, too hard, I'd strip the screw hole and mess everything up.
Above, you see me making a bathroom decision at two years old. Even then, I needed something to read in there. Faced with a choice between the practical "Popular Science," and "True." I chose "True," the man's magazine loaded with high adventure, sports profiles and dramatic conflicts. At two, writing was ready for me, but I'm plodder and I wasn't ready to write. But I was thinking about it.
I wish I occasionally grabbed a "Popular Science." Come Monday, Jimmy, his son, Matt & I are painting my Aunt Barbara's apartment in Elmhurst. I expect to be used as a water boy and everyone is right with this choice. Painting an apartment brings back a complex memory.
In 1967, my parents decided to paint our new place, they asked me to help. My father gave me a gallon of white paint and told me to do the closet in my room. Somehow, I got the ladder, the paint and me into the small space. It was hard to breath in there.
About an hour into it, I left the closet and asked Dad for more paint. He looked me up and down, went to the closet, shook his head like a horse, turned, shook his head in a downward motion towards me, walked to my mother in another room and said something. Mom came back to the closet, looked in it, looked at the empty gallon of paint, then walked over to her handbag and pulled a bill out, then came back to me and said, "Tommy, throw your clothes away, take a shower, here's ten dollars, go into the city and stay with your grandmother for the weekend."
I fear paint, I fear Monday. May God have mercy on my soul.