Sunday, January 4, 2009

My New Hobby

Several years ago, I rented a U-Haul trailer, drove to a parking lot next to an out-of-business bowling center, and bought two 8' sections of sawed-up maple bowling alley for $80 each. They sat in my garage, untouched, for the better part of a decade.

What lunacy inspired this inexplicable action? Early midlife disease; more specifically, the usual but insane male fantasy of building the perfect 8' woodworking bench. Careful, kids; this is what happens when you turn 30 or 35 and watch Saturday morning PBS shows hosted by Norm Abrams. It's an insidious sickness, further fueled by lunch hours at used bookstores buying up back issues of Fine Woodworking and drooling over the glossy, four-color photos of perfectly polished benches.

Why two 8' bowling alley sections, you ask? Consider: if one is good, how could two not be better? (I'm informed by reliable sources that this logic is hereditary and related to the Y chromosome.)

After eight or nine years of tripping over these immovable monstrosities, it slowly dawned on me that my inability to saw the perfect dovetail joint was uncorrelated to contentment in life generally. Besides, I had purchased two enormous BOWLING ALLEY SECTIONS and regrettably told a few people at work about it (see "Laughingstocks, Office"). I advertised my treasures for sale.

An astrophysicist from the nearby university inspected them but declined, saying they didn't meet his need for precision within a small, measurable tolerance. Hey Professor, did I mention that these are BOWLING ALLEY SECTIONS?

I finally sold them to a machine shop owner for the same $80 per treasure that I'd paid for them. He wanted to make workbenches out of them. I think he got a heck of a deal, don't you?

My old hobby was woodworking. My new hobby is reading about woodworking. I'm much happier now.

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