Gremlins

April 28, 2008

I am an educated person. I read books. I understand geometry and have an understanding of how the planets revolve around the sun. I can design a drawer pull and cut a dovetail joint or two. I see the value of differing points of view. But on this one point, there is no argument. On this matter, there can be no quarrel. It is too real, too palpable, too visibly real in my shop every week. The subject is gremlins.

The evidence for gremlins in the shop is overwhelming of course. Too many times I have lost something that I just held in hand. Too many times has something gone from my bench or my apron or my desk and just gone missing. Then it turns up again in that same place, that same bench some minutes later or maybe it shows up across the shop or maybe it turns up days later under a pile of papers. But I, the fool, keep looking, keep walking around the shop, lost in search, wasting time, lost and maniacal as I thunder around looking for the glasses tipped up on my forehead. Who put these here? One minute the tool is right in front of my eyes as I work at the bench and the next it is lost in a sea of shapes and objects. Hidden in plain sight by the little beasts.

Do not doubt me. These gremlins steal things. They will sometimes be charitable and give them back fairly soon. But often they can be selfish and too playful altogether. No the question is not, do they exist? The question at hand is whether or not they can be placated? Whether you can mollify them. Or if they’re such capricious little imps that nothing you do will ever stop them.

Gremlins can of course just be seen. You’ve caught them yourselves I know. They are barely visible out of the corner of your eye. I’m sure I’ve stared full on at one but have never really seen it. But in the shop they are often visible from the corner of your bifocals as your eye shifts from one focal depth to another and you can see these little shapes scamper out of sight. Do not snicker, Sir or Madam. It is true. I have seen them scamper, that fast, out of my view. Oh yes, they exist. I am not crazy. Crazy would be ignoring their presence. Crazy would be saying that I’m just forgetful or messy. Not true. Gremlins steal my things.

I struggle with them of course. I have learned not to curse them. Not to implore or beg: please give me back my calipers, please let me find that missing wedge, please oh please let me see my sliver of wood again against the brown wood floor or the wood of my bench or the wood of the project. Why is there so much wood everywhere? No I do not struggle. I do not whine. I have learned to keep my peace. To maintain some shred of dignity while I walk around the shop muttering to myself for hours seemingly on end in search of some lost thing that I must find now.

So it will be clear, it is not obsession on my part. It is not love of the hunt to be sure. It is neither a contest of wills between the gremlins and me. I merely want to go about my business. And so I have a strategy to assuage their mischievious ways. Chocolate. It seems to work. Sometimes.

Put out a piece of chocolate for them. A peace offering as it were. And let them see it and they will relax their grip on your tool or screw or wedge and you will find it again. Then you eat the chocolate, triumphant! I do not believe this upsets the gremlins much. I of course have no evidence of this.

I do however have continuing evidence that the gremlins live in my shop as things continue to leave and then return. Now where did my glasses go?

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Published in: on April 28, 2008 at 8:12 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. They wouldn’t take the glasses….

  2. I’m glad you’ve started posting, giving yourself a creative literary outlet and us the opportunity to enjoy
    some good writing.


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