Monday, March 16, 2009

Jody and me

At the end of yesterday's post, I said that Jody Procter and I "treat parallel subjects with slightly different perspectives."

Here's what I mean.

On the subject of personality traits in the various building trades:

Actually, plumbers tend to be the most twisted people in the trades, just as the roofers are the wildest, the drunkenest, and have the highest number of tattoos per square inch of exposed skin. Electricians are the cleanest, although, oddly, the drivers of the concrete trucks tend to be meticulous about their clothes and boots.
--Jody Procter, Toil: Building Yourself, page 39.
Abe was coming to the opinion that cabinet makers had authority issues, electricians were obsessive by-the-book rule geeks, plumbers were smarter than people gave credit, painters were flat-out nuts, and drywallers were all Jesus freaks...
--Joe Cottonwood, Clear Heart, page 256-257

Then there's the matter of measuring hairs:
Anything closer than one-sixteenth of an inch is inevitably a cunt hair and the smallest of cunt hairs is always a red cunt hair.
--Jody Procter, Toil: Building Yourself, page 39.
“I’m learning new units of measurement. I always knew that a hair was a unit of measure - like, ‘That board is too long by a hair’ - but did you know that a pussy hair is a smaller unit? And a red pussy hair is the smallest unit of all?”
--Joe Cottonwood, Clear Heart, page 91

Also, there's catching the rhythm. And work as a form of prayer:
On a day like this, in quiet, in peace, with no rain, with the boards lining up easily and falling into place, the nails plunking home, one after another, ...I am in a state of perfect flow, of harmony, of almost mindless happiness. The work, itself, becomes a prayer.
--Jody Procter, Toil: Building Yourself, page 154.
Abe kneeled, carried, held in place, lifted, watched, learned. The flow of work, the hot breath of the power saw and the whine of the blade, the heft of the wood in his hands, scratches on Abe’s elbow where he collided with a four-by-four, drops of blood sprinkling in powdery sawdust, the sharp fresh-cut scent of fir, the nails whacking true, the prickling heat of the sun, the outline of the gazebo forming and then filling, board after board, joist to beam to rafter, the skillful and yet spiritual rhythm of it all was like a song. Or a prayer. The frame came out tight as a drum.
--Joe Cottonwood, Clear Heart, page 63-64

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