Some of you longtime CLASSIC TRUCKS readers may well recall the following editorial. It was originally penned in early 2001 and was based on an incident that happened just days before it was written. Well, over the last three months or so I received multiple emails from longtime readers asking me if I'd consider re-running the editorial as they had enjoyed it, but they'd either lost or misplaced the original issue in which it ran. So here goes...
This past weekend was pretty typical. I got up early, brewed up a pot of high-test and headed out to the garage. With a too full mug o' coffee in one hand I walked through the door into the darkened interior of my much-too-small, two-car garage/workshop and headed to the wall switch to turn on the lights. As I closed the distance and reached out blindly toward the switch, it happened – smack! Before I knew what was happening I was tumbling ass over teakettle, steaming hot coffee flying through the air in an arc destined drench anything in its path.
I landed in a rumpled pile, half draped over a rearend housing and a coil of air hose. My shin felt as though it'd been introduced to the business end of an air chisel and the palm of my hand tattooed with the indentation of the 9⁄16 open end. Dazed, and in what I can only imagine was a less than flattering pose, I laid there cursing the moron that left whatever it was I'd tripped over in the middle of the floor. That is, until I remembered that I'd been the only one who'd worked in the shop for days. After a moment to gather my wits, I untangled myself from the mess on the floor and finally made it to the switch. Click, on go the lights and I could at last see what it was that I tripped over and also survey the mess caused by my flying morning coffee.
Standing there rubbing my bruised and battered shin and looking over the shop, I was amazed at how a garage can be transformed from a fine example of a home shop to pile of scattered tools, air hoses, and parts in such short notice. Lord knows I don't let it get that way intentionally. But, somehow, during periods of intense thrashing I find myself making many more trips to my rollaway to fetch tools than putting them away.
Well, needless to say, the rest of that day was spent cleaning the shop rather than wrenching. In fact, my housekeeping was so thorough that I surpassed what I would normally have called an extensive cleanup session and crossed over the line into what could (for me anyway) only be called a massive undertaking. I not only moved and picked up everything on the floor. I even went as far as (gasp) pulling things out from underneath the workbenches, out from behind the compressor and sandblasting cabinet, and even into the scrap metal pile. The whole sordid affair took 10 hours. Hours that, if I'd only had the forethought to stay on top of things in the first place, could actually have gone to much better use actually working on a project!
So, if there is a point to make, or lesson a lesson to be learned from this rambling, it's to always allow yourself a bit of time at the end of a day of thrashing to clean up the shop and put away the tools. I've learned the hard way that a half-hour here and there sure beats an all-day session that doesn't get the project any closer to completion. And working in an orderly shop actually increases the amount of work done, plus it's a heck of a lot easier on the shins too.