“Look,” she says, as an actor slips a new window into place, “See how easy that is?”
I fought in all theaters of home repair, from old farm houses to new condos, and nothing, I repeat, nothing is easy and nothing ever just slips into place. HGTV is shot in a studio, far from the cry of battle. They can afford five takes and they never show the casualties.
Why am I telling you this?
Someone has to speak truth to power. I guess it has to be me. For example last Saturday, egged on by HGTV, my wife launched yet another war.
“Honey,” she asked innocently, “could you hang a curtain rod over the sink?”
I protested. I told her I had no intention of marching into combat armed with the cheap brass rod she purchased from a discount chain.
She rolled her eyes and repeated the HGTV slogan, “it’s easy.”
Maybe for her but she wasn’t doing the work.
First, let’s talk about terrain. She claimed the curtain is “over the sink”. That is only half the truth. In actuality, the objective is located deep within An Alcove Too Far. A place where there is no room to maneuver.
Second, while armed with a reliable and battle tested power drill, I dread marching into battle with screws provided by low-bid suppliers.
Follow this scenario with me:
Scene: In a nondescript office located deep within the lush corporate campus of the Home Repair/Industrial Complex, an accountant pours over production reports. He stops to squint at a detail. Bolting to the phone, he furiously punches buttons then barks into the receiver. This is what we hear from his side of the conversation.
“Have you any idea how many curtain rods we project to sell next quarter?”
“What do you mean, ‘a hell of lot’? The number is north of six million.”
“Uh-huh, now multiply six million by the number of screws included in each kit.”
“Good Grief!! You are a math-wiz. Twenty-four million is correct. So how are you going to cut the cost of each kit?”
“You can’t think of a way, huh? I will tell you how to do it. Take a half-inch off each screw and make them out of the softest, cheapest metal imaginable.”
“What? Who cares if men all over America suffer? HGTV will convince their wives that they are whiners.”
So there I am, hunkered down in a tiny alcove, the whine of a power-drill screaming over my head as screw after screw pings past my nose and ricochets into the sink. The heads are stripped, the shafts bent – and my flesh is ripped to shreds by the drill-bit. I howl in protest, I curse the powers that be, and for what?
My wife is safe on the home front, watching yet another episode of HGTV, nodding in agreement, dreaming up the next project and silently mouthing their mantra…
It’s oh so easy!