I am so tempted to write an essay here that will appeal to at most 3% of the population, those whose job consists of working with the same database system that my day job consists of. "Why not?" says the little voice in my head, "You pretty much just write these for your own amusement."
Because the fact is that I spent much of this past weekend doing exactly the same thing that I do for a living, but in a very different manner: I built a table.
Oh, sure, there are differences, such as when I build a table at work, I usually have to build indexes, while this past weekend, I had to build benches. And the tables I build at work very rarely suffer from one leg being a bit longer than the others. But if I were to write the essay to appeal only to people like me (aka "computer professionals" to us, "nerds" most everyone else, and "wedgie prospects" to the guys in my high school gym class), I would spend the time noting that we built it extra-large, leading to tablespace issues, and how because of a few bad angle cuts of wood, we had some table corruption problems. And most of you would have figured I'd lost it and gone off to read something funnier, like "Les Miserables" or the obituaries.
My wife and I have some friends named Dan and Tristin, who have occasionally shown up as characters in these essays before. Dan and Tristin have a baby girl, "E.G.", who will be turning one in about a month, and in the fashion that only first time parents can, they have decided that this is an event which calls for a massive party involving all of their family and friends.
Those of you who, like Janet and I, have a surplus of children realize that by the time you get to the third one, it's a miracle if you even recognize the day. My own youngest son is... and I have to think about this, three years and about four months old. It was about this time a year ago when I finally stopped telling people he was one.
What I don't understand is why we persist in celebrating these things with our babies. Most people do not throw complex, expensive birthday parties for their dogs, and yet for cognitive processing abilities, babies make dogs look like Einstein. Which is OK, it's best that it happen that way, no parent wants their baby sporting that mustache.
Anyway, in order to have the barbecue they have envisioned, Dan and Tristin had decided they vitally needed a picnic table, and they could think of no better way to obtain one than to select four of their friends such that summed between us, the six of us have no more experience assembling trees into furniture than E.G. has, lock us all in a garage with various raw materials and power tools of the sort that we really should not be entrusted with, and refuse to open the door until a picnic table results.
And by the way, when I say "they could think of no better way", I'm not saying that Dan and Tristin are dumb people. I'm saying they're the level of colossal stupidity one can only obtain after the 11 months of sleep deprivation that nature ensures we get while we have a baby. It is this level of exhausted brain dysfunction that allows us to overlook the fact that this small living thing has entirely taken over our lives and our households, destroyed any social life we ever had, left "strained pea" colored splotches on every item of clothing we own, cost us more than the gross national product of certain pacific tropical nations in disposable diapers alone, and by the way filled those diapers with a substance which makes toxic waste seem positively appetizing, and, rather than seeking the quickest way to rid ourselves of this pox, look down upon it and coo and gurgle and count ourselves as blessed.
I had a roommate like that back in college. He was NOT a blessing.
Regardless, we got together and built a table, and I'm happy to report that if the current fiscal "recession" turns into a fiscal "depression" and my company ends up deep in the... contents of disposable diapers... I can always turn to a new career building furniture for blind people: Items which are basically functional, but which could in no way be considered pleasing to the eye.
I could regale you with hyperbolic descriptions of the errors we made, and how if my high school shop teacher had stopped by to watch my technique, he might have chosen to retroactively rescind the "C" I got in his class more than 25 years ago (and let me tell you, receiving a "C" from a man whose most memorable characteristics are his two missing fingers from two DIFFERENT projects gone bad is a sobering prospect), but the truth is, we did a pretty good job.
It was only after we had completed the task that Dan broke the news (no, I'm not kidding) that Janet and I were not actually invited to the event for which the table was built.
Which is OK, I don't particularly enjoy strained peas anyway.
(* As a little extra, I find it amusing that I called this "Nailed It" when there wasn't a single nail used in the construction. But it felt like a better title than "Screwed!" or "Bolt and Run? You Must Be Nuts!")
Copyright © April 28, 2009 by Liam Johnson. http://liam-humor.blogspot.com