May I toot my own horn?

No, I don’t have a horn. Well I do, but I can’t toot it. It’s one of the many things I can’t do well. We have a couple bugles here and when I try to toot them it’s all spittle and flatulence. There’s no music in it.

Dave can toot the horns. He used to toot them every time I came home from work and pressed the honky-horn on my bicycle, and he’d come out on the back porch and toot one of our bugles. The neighbors politely ignored this exchange but I’ll bet the ones that didn’t get full-ass Reveille when they came home were jealous. Dave can play just about any instrument, none of them expertly, but he does have a natural facility. He’s got good embouchure, too, but that’s private.

My tootable horn is 100% metaphorical. Listen up. I just got a shipment of three side tables to go with our Adirondack chairs on the patio. They came with Some Assembly Required. There were three steps, six bolts, and an Allen wrench, and yet I did it. I felt, as the kids say, empowered.

I hauled the little boxes inside and bolted the pieces solid while sitting on my recliner. Because that was the level of bad-assedness I was bringing to the table. Tables. Yes. I used the bubble wrap to cushion the table tops on the floor and started Allen-wrenching the bolts in per instruction. It was going splendidly.

I am aware that this level of pride should really not apply to an assembly project with three easy steps and all the necessary tools in the box. It should be approached with the same aplomb with which you take milk from the fridge and pour it on your corn flakes. But I was elated. I totally did this thing, and I’m not normal.

I’m just not. It was no given that I was going to get three little tables out of this. It’s like trying to get a sparrow to crochet a pot holder. Oh, sure—most of them can do it—they can knit a whole nest with their face. But there’s always that one bird that’s a little off. I’m that bird.

Here I should explain that there are entire areas of my brain—seriously, you can hear an echo in there—in which things that are easy for other people are completely missing for me. For instance, the ability to manipulate three-dimensional objects in space. The reason I have not qualified for Astronaut is not (just) that I’m too short.

Dave once ran outside when I was working on a project all concerned that I might have had a stroke of some kind because he saw that most of my body was above the project but my head was oddly bent underneath it, and what I was doing was trying to figure this out: if I was installing a screw righty-tighty on top, was it was still righty-tighty from underneath, or does basic physics not apply in furniture-assembly? To those wondering, yes, it’s still righty-tighty from the bottom. Do Not ask me to figure this out using just my mind. I can’t do it.

Anyway the third end table didn’t go together. The last two bolt-holes did not line up. And yet I did not panic, or run to Dave or one of the other lesbians. I fixed it myself. Tomorrow I’m going to space.