What happened was...
Mr. Parker returned from the supermarket. Since he does the cooking in our home, he also likes to do the shopping. (Pretty great for me, right?!)
Looking for an excuse to leave my computer, I got up and helped him unload the groceries.
Then, not wanting to get right back to work, I decided I would take some time to give our new jar of peanut butter a good stir.
For peanut butter, we buy (and by “we,” I mean him) that kind of “natural” peanut butter (as opposed to all that other, unnatural peanut butter) that always comes with a layer of separated peanut oil on the top.
Mixing that oil in with a knife or spoon always seems to end with fingers and everything else slathered in peanut butter, and the oil is stirred in only halfway. That makes the top half of the peanut butter jar a delight, and the bottom half a fine substitute for spackle or grout.
But I was up for a good, productive session of procrastination. I grabbed a tablespoon and started gently folding the thinner oil into the thicker peanut butter. It quickly became a game. Could I create a perfectly blended product while not making any mess at all?
I was careful to get the spoon to the center of the jar, slowly turn it, then make my way to the bottom. As the oil rose to the top of the jar, I’d back off before letting it spill over the sides and onto the counter.
A longer spoon would have been ideal, but I was working with what I had and making decent progress. Plus, it was rather therapeutic until--
Mr. Parker leaned in and asked, “What are you doing?
It seemed plainly obvious to me. “Stirring the peanut butter.”
“Wait. Stop. There’s a better way.”
Couldn’t he see that I was doing a brilliant job? That the oil and the peanut butter were starting to play together nicely? That my hands were free of any and all nut butter residue?
The next thing I knew, he’d returned with a giant, cordless electric power drill.
Yes, I said “power drill.”
In place of a drill bit, he had inserted one of the metal beaters from a handheld electric mixer.
I backed away, watching my private therapy session devolve into a scene from This Old House meets Saw.
He inserted the metal beater into the jar of peanut butter. Judiciously pulsing the motor, then running it slowly, Mr. Parker powered the peanut butter smooth.
“See? Look how much better that is.”
I felt like I’d just been man-splained by demonstration. I wanted to be pissed, but then the sight of my guy happily power-drilling peanut butter was too wonderful and quirky to not enjoy.
I love people doing odd things as if they where completely natural. I thought, I could shove this piece of business into a book somewhere. Which of my new characters would get to Makita-Mix the Skippy?
Later, when I addressed the quirkiness of this act with him, he offered that lots of tools have uses they weren’t originally designed for. I thought about the twisted wire hanger I keep by the bed to retrieve items that fall behind the headboard.
But Mr. Parker’s case in point was so much darker. “Take hammers. A hammer is designed to pound nails. But people use them for all kinds of things. You can use a hammer to kill someone. Murder-by-hammer happens all the time.”
I went from thinking about how wonderfully quirky my guy can be to wondering if I was going to be the inspiration for the next season of White Lotus: Hammer Time On The Gulf Coast.
I now periodically check our hammers for bloody hair or animal matter.
So, what’s the strangest repurposing of a tool you’ve tried? (Please, share only those things that won’t result in arrest.)
- Honey Parker
Honey Parker has been writing, writing, writing for decades, decades, decades. In there, she has also been a standup comedian, a Hollywood screenwriter, a director, and a co-author of edgy business books. Careful-ish is her debut novel. It is the first in a trilogy. It is comedy-ish.