Hardware

By Blegvad, Peter | Chicago Review, January 1, 1999 | Go to article overview

Hardware


Blegvad, Peter, Chicago Review


It was cold on the street. When I couldn't stand it anymore I went into a hardware store and pretended to look at the wall display. A customer asked a clerk in a blue smock, "Have you got a screwdriver with a range of different size heads?" As soon as he said it I saw the thing in my imagination-I saw how I would solve this particular design problem. When the clerk held up the actual item for approval, I peered over the customer's shoulder and gasped. The various heads all fit neatly into the hollow yellow handle-something I wouldn't have thought of in a million years. "I'll take it" said the customer, a massive individual who stood between the clerk and me like a wall. "Me too!" I piped, standing on tiptoe and waving to catch the clerk's eye as he rang the purchase up. With impressive economy his scowl conveyed that I should be patient, he'd serve me in my turn. I had time to reflect on how fabulous the world was, with such marvels in it. Someone, a whole team perhaps, had gone to no little trouble to produce this tool, so useful, so thoughtful, so beautiful, with its mouthwatering amber handle. …

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