Shockingly Simple


If you don’t recognize having ever used this tool, you should get out more. Or get some MANVIL flash cards.


This, one of mankind’s simpler, yet gracefully designed tools, is no marvel of technology, and it is certainly no earth shattering implement. It is simply a screw driver, and as such, little gets screwed without knowing how to use it. 

On trying to describe this tool’s myriad uses, I have only one, thankfully fond memory. Most uses are mundane at best, place driver on screw, turn, repeat until screw is either all the way in, or all the way out. The most memorable use of the screw driver that I can recall was in a non-traditional role.

On a warm day, at my family’s home in the valley, my father equipped me with an old stout Craftsman screw driver as we were setting to attend to a problem. We needed to remove “something” from one of the concrete blocks that was at the top of the driveway stairs. After surveying the object sticking proudly out of the block, we realized that it was a much aged wooden dowel, and it was protruding from what looked like an old lamp socket. For safety sake, my father turned off the electricity to the lower half of the house, as well as the ‘hot’ lines that went to the garage just past the cement block. It was at this point when I began to use the screw driver for its’ non-traditional roll, as an instrument used to pry things apart.

I pounded the tip of the flat head into the top of the dowel and would continue to pry water damaged pieces of wood from the hole for about twenty minutes. In time I began making headway, the dowel began to come apart in ever larger chunks. In an moment of flourish, for the seemingly inevitable final act of dowel disembowelment, I planted the screw driver in the rough center with my left hand. In one stroke of a small mallet I pounded the top of the handle soundly, quite soundly. 

I came to sometime later, 12 feet away. The screw driver was smoking in the hole. The mallet was still clenched in my right hand. Luckily, I had landed in the grass, as opposed to taking a header down the stairs to the street below, or landing in my mother’s beloved Bougainvillea

My father and I eventually hunted down the offending electrical circuit. The offending line went from the kitchen to the old, unused lamp post out front. When it was finally turned off, I returned to my duty and cleaned out the old socket as my father quietly snipped the line at the junction box. 

If there is a lesson to be learned here, I should say this, always hold your screw driver by the handle and not the shaft. That, and never assume your electrician knows what the schematics are if he didn’t put them in himself.  -Cheers!

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