A Tool and Object Lesson

“Jim Class” is a feature that airs within The HomeFix Show. Writen by original charter show listener Jim Forrer from Caldwell Idaho, Jim shares his observations, life experiances, and lessons learned in life. Joe Prin reads these at various times in most of the HomeFix Shows. Here is the original written text.

Early one autumn, walking home from school, all up hill by the way, I stumbled across something in the gravel. I was crossing an alleyway when I saw what looked like a pair of pliers. I reached down and picked up Vice-grips. They were almost rusted shut, but with a little manipulation I was able to work them loose. When I got home, I showed my dad what I had found. He smiled and said that I should try and find the guy they belonged to and return them. We knew just about everybody, so I went out on my appointed rounds, but never did find who had owned them. I must admit, I didn’t look all that hard. Dad said later that this tool would be the start of my very own tool collection and that I should always take good care of them. Dad said, if taken care of, tools should last a lifetime. He was right , for I still have those Vice-grips, and use them quite often. This happening took place back in 1947, back when I was in the third grade.

My father had some trucks in his business and always performed his own maintenance. Knowing this, I found dad’s crankcase waste oil pan and soaked my pliers over night. The next day after school, I washed those Vice-grips in hot soapy water, then brushed them off with mom’s toilet brush. They started to look pretty good. I gave them a light coating of 3-in-one oil.  The pliers did not shine anymore, but had a gun metal look to them.  I guess all that rust stained the steel permanently.

With the pliers in my back pocket, I went around the neighborhood showing all my buddies what a great thing that I had.  They all were impressed with my new possession.  I was continually going around clamping those pliers onto anything and everything.  I even clamped them on a girl’s shirt and told her it was a rat.  She didn’t believe me.

Then, one, day, I found what I thought was the best usage for those Vice-grips.  Little Jim, as he was known in the neighborhood, and I, known as big Jim, were sitting on the front steps of his house shooting our cap guns.  All at once, I got the bright idea of using a couple of caps in the jaws of my pliers.  Boy, did that ever work good.  The next time, I placed the whole roll of caps between the jaws.  I had to squeeze really hard with all my strength. What a bang!  The third time, I placed two rolls into the jaws of destruction.  I squeezed and squeezed, but I couldn’t make them go off.  So, I figured that I could get better leverage by placing my arms down between my knees and strained with all my might.  This proved to be true,  you can achieve more power by doing this, but I never did that again!

Calamine lotion is a wonderful thing!