May 10, 2011

Courtesy Digital Vision/Digital Vision/

When my cousin Curt forwarded a virtual copy of the Tool Dictionary, I appreciated the humor and irony in the definitions. In case you haven’t seen the list, it takes common tools from the shop and applies twisted definitions to them.

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The definitions that made me chuckle the hardest were those that struck closest to home, like:

Pliers: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.” 

That one is oh-too true, as are others, like:

Screwdrivers: Designed for stripping out screw heads, opening paint cans, used as pry bars and punches.”

Of course, the reality is that with many tools, they can have multiple uses. As the old saying goes, “To a hammer, all the world is a nail.” When we don’t have the right tool, the next best thing often has to do … and it does. That’s one reason I keep a spike (extra large nail) in my chisel and miscellaneous cutting tools drawer. I also keep a railroad spike in there. It’s amazing how often both have proven useful.

Most of the “tool definitions” are less about invention than they are accidents. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Table Saw: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.
  • Hose Cutter: A tool used to make hoses too short.
  • Hammer: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent to the object we are trying to hit.
  • Utility Knife: Used to open and slice through the content of cardboard cartons; works particularly well on contents such as seats, liquids in plastic bottles or plastic parts.

If you have any favorites, please share.

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