By Jerry Zezima
If I had a sledgehammer, I’d sledgehammer in the morning, I’d sledgehammer in the evening, all over my land.
I won’t sing the rest of it because: (a) the neighbors would call the cops and (b) I don’t have a sledgehammer.
But I got to wield one when a crew of strong-armed guys came over to dismantle our old shed and put up a new one, where I keep all kinds of tools except — you guessed it — a screwdriver.
No, I mean a sledgehammer. I keep screwdrivers in the liquor cabinet.
Actually, I have gotten rid of so many tools, which are useless in my clumsy hands anyway, that I don’t know why I even have a shed.
I used to have a lawn mower, a snow blower and a power washer, but since I don’t cut the grass, clear the driveway or wash the house anymore, I dumped them on younger, more competent homeowners.
The rest of the shed was taken up by patio furniture, gardening supplies and kiddie pools.
Tools included two rakes, a spade, a hoe, a trowel, a shovel, a pair of hedge clippers and something that resembled a scythe. Whenever I used it to cut weeds, which grew back the next day, I looked like the Grim Geezer.
I also kept a hammock in the loft, but it was eaten by mice (the hammock, not the loft, though that was probably next).
In fact, the shed was in such deplorable condition that if I had sneezed on it, the whole rickety structure would have collapsed in a pile of kindling. So my wife, Sue, and I decided to buy a new one.
We went to a place called Wood Kingdom and bought a shed made of, yes, wood. Unfortunately, it came unassembled.
“I am the least handy man in America,” I told Maureen Schnapp, the owner. “I won’t have to put it together myself, will I?”
“No,” said Maureen, adding that the various parts — floor, walls, doors, roof, etc. — are made by an Amish company in Ohio.
“Will they deliver the materials by horse and buggy and have a shed-raising in my backyard?” I wondered.
“They’re too busy for that,” Maureen said. “They will get the parts to us. Then we’ll send our guys over to tear down your old shed, cart it away and put up the new one.”
The guys were Jorge, 46, the supervisor, and his assistants, Juan, 40, and Jose, 36.
When I saw Jose whacking the walls of the empty old shed with a sledgehammer, I walked up to him — being careful not to get hit in the head, in which case I’d have to buy the company a new sledgehammer — and asked, “May I try?”
“Sure,” Jose replied. “But don’t hurt yourself.”
I grabbed the handle, lifted the sledgehammer with a jerk (me) and almost ruptured a vital organ.
“How much does this thing weigh?” I inquired.
“About 40 pounds,” Jose answered. “It’s heavy.”
“I’m old, but I’m strong,” I assured him. “I keep in shape by bench-pressing six-packs.”
Jose instructed me to stand inside the shed and hit the bottom of the Dutch roof, just above the top of the wall.
I reared back and slammed the metal hammerhead against the wood.
“Try it again,” Jose said.
I did. Still nothing. On my third swing, the wood began to crack.
“Nice,” said Jose. “Keep going.”
By this time, I was flailing away like one of the Property Brothers. I kept it up until the bottom of the roof had become separated from the wall. I also took a whack at one of the doors. I was amazed, not just at my terrific performance, but at the fact that I didn’t go into cardiac arrest.
“You did a good job,” said Jorge, who told me that he has a shed at home. “I keep tools in it. I also have the kids’ pools. You can always use a shed. It’s better than leaving stuff outside.”
Thanks to the great work he, Jose and Juan did, I don’t have to leave stuff outside.
Now all my tools are inside a brand-new shed. I may even buy a sledgehammer. The Property Brothers will be impressed.
Copyright 2021 by Jerry Zezima