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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA



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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Bob Vila Can Suck My Claw Hammer

If you hear a crash, that would be one of the pictures I hung this evening. My level of DIY proficiency around the house begins and ends with hammering small nails into the wall, and apparently I’m not even good at that. But I tried — one night in my life, I actually tried. Three times, even. Here’s how it went:

Picture #1 went up in the bedroom. It’s a painting that I picked out — all on my own, too! It’s mostly of a tree. Plus some sky, and a bit of water, with a sailboat. I’m pretty sure I’m not doing it justice here. Which is not all that surprising, frankly.

See, I don’t normally get involved in any decisions that involve things that the wife and I are going to have to look at on a daily basis. Not that she doesn’t offer to let me help. She’s all for expanding my aesthetic horizons when the opportunity arises. It’s just that I have this knack — a ‘flair’, even — for making horrible, indefensible, ugly suggestions when it comes to matters of domestic decorations. A typical conversation might go like this:

Her: So, I think we should paint the living room.

Me: Okay, that sounds good.

Her: What color would you think would work?

Me: Gee, I dunno. Magenta?

Her: Um… well, I think magenta might, ah, clash. With, sort of, everything.

Me: Oh. Okay. How about black, then?

Her: Black? On the walls? All the walls?

Me: Well, black doesn’t clash, right?

Her: True. But I was thinking of something more… cheerful.

Me: Ah. How about canary yellow, then? That’s cheery.

Her: But. The furniture is brown and green.

Me: I know.

Her: That doesn’t seem like a problem to you?

Me: Not even the tiniest little bit.

Her: I see. Maybe you should go play a video game for a while, and I’ll look at color swatches.

Me: Okay. I’ll go play a game, while you look at swatches.

Her: That would be best. Run along now.

Me: Yes, dear.

So trust me when I say that picking out an entire painting without spousal supervision is huge news. Like, ‘Look, I’m not really a man!‘ or ‘By the way, I’ve got three other wives — surprise!‘ huge. I’m not sure which would go over worse, come to think of it.

Anyway, I was a bit worried about unveiling the painting to her after I’d bought it, but I do really like the thing. And she very expertly walked the line between ‘obviously hating it’ and ‘gushing insincerely over how magnificent it looks’. My wife is quite the budding diplomat, it seems.

She even picked the perfect spot for the painting — in our bedroom. This tells me two things: on the one hand, she doesn’t like it nearly enough to display it prominently in a place that visitors are likely to see. But on the other hand, she doesn’t loathe it so completely that she won’t be able to stand seeing it when she wakes up every morning. Of course, it is on my side of the bed, so maybe she’s just planning on not looking that way very often. In any case, it makes me happy, so I owe her one. Maybe I’ll surprise her and paint the dining room a nice shocking pink. You know, to match the brown drapes. That’ll be nice.

But I digress. Back to the picture hanging adventure.

So, job one involved the painting — my painting! — to be hung in the bedroom. Here’s how it went down:

I held the picture up to the wall and asked my wife if it looked straight.

She told me to use the level in the toolbox to be sure.

I used the level in the toolbox to be sure.

I hung the painting.

The painting wasn’t straight. Apparently, I’m not only color-blind and style-stupid, but bubble-challenged, too. And possibly drunk.

Luckily, I was able to make a creative adjustment — which involved mangling one of the hanging hooks and rotating it upside-downly — to even things out. So right now, my very first solo art purchase is hanging right by my side of the bed, more or less parallel to the floor below. I never thought the day would come, frankly. I may have a nice weep over it later.

Meanwhile, I moved on to picture #2. This is a large panoramic print of the Boston skyline, originally meant as a Christmas present for my parents. But we didn’t get a chance to ship it before the holidays, and when we got back… well, let’s just say that somewhere along the way, ‘we’ decided that it was probably too big for my parents’ place.

(I say ‘we’ because I don’t remember the thought occurring to me, which means that my wife probably figured it out first. But hey, they’re my parents, so maybe I thought it through by myself.

But probably not.)

Anyway, we had a smallish panorama of Fenway Park hanging on one wall of our office, where the new present-to-ourselves-that-wasn’t-meant-that-way would fit nicely. Only to get it up, I needed to nail in more hooks. Which meant using the level again, and at distances far longer than one level’s width. So I was pretty much guaranteed to screw that one up.

And I did.

Actually, the worst part of hanging the skyline picture was that there’s nothing to hang it on. No hooks, no handy string across the back, no thingamajig sticking to it with a label reading, ‘Hang Here, Stupid!‘ So, I hung it with nothing. More accurately, I bent a couple of wall hooks straight, and gently, gingerly balanced the upper lip of the picture frame on them.

And promptly stopped breathing, lest a puff of air knock the thing off its perch. Three hours later, and the picture’s still up there — but the first time one of us stomps up the stairs, or the dog farts in the same room, I’m pretty sure it’s going to come crashing down. I’m thinking of taping the mutt’s ass closed, just as a precaution. Hell, any excuse will do. I’ve been thinking about that for years.

Finally, I hung picture #3, the Fenway print that got displaced by the new picture. And I hung it without incident, even. Unless you count the fact that I mounted it on the far wall of the office, behind the very tall and very bright lamp. Which means that unless you actually walk to the picture, and stand with your nose to the glass, you can’t actually see anything in the pic, because of the glare from the light.

But dammit, if you do walk over there, you’ll see that the picture is fricking straight. And it’s solidly hung, too. It’s not going anywhere, that’s for sure.

So, there you go. Three pictures up in one night. One can’t actually be seen, another’s going to fall the next time the phone rings, and the third is rigged with bubble gum and masking tape to hold it straight. I may not know art, folks, but I know what I like. And ‘hanging pictures’ is not on the list. Why can’t we go back to sticking posters to the wall with art gum, like we did in college?

Permalink  |  7 Comments



7 Responses to “Bob Vila Can Suck My Claw Hammer”

  1. Eva says:

    Sounds like you could give McGuyver a run for his money.

  2. #Debi says:

    The last time I was in the frame shop I noticed that they have these hanger thingies now that are basically velcro that you stick to the wall. You might want to try that… Congrats on the art purchase, and congrats on being allowed to keep it.

  3. Jenn says:

    Now, I could send MY husband over to teach you to hang pictures if you like…It’s really the only thing he’s remotely handy at. But he’s always so proud of himself when he’s done.

    Maybe I could get him to hold a workshop?

  4. RRaccoon says:

    You don’t own a tape measure to use in determining the same distances from the ceiling? Pfft.

    Oh, and your poor, poor dog.

  5. Meet Picture-Plumb.

    *Praying that HTML works on these comments.

  6. Hazel Hazel says:

    What really sucks is when the picture is truly level but looks crooked (due to out of square everything else!)

  7. The Red says:

    “…or the dog farts in the same room, I’m pretty sure it’s going to come crashing down. I’m thinking of taping the mutt’s ass closed, just as a precaution. Hell, any excuse will do. I’ve been thinking about that for years.”

    You just have it out for that poor dog don’t you? LMAO

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