The sprouting of doubt in masculine pillars…

The instrustions on the white can of
joint compound with a green lid says:
Allow joints to dry.
Use a damp sponge to smooth bumps and imperfections.

Bah! sayeth I:
I have watched hundred of hours of home improvement
television, I have never seen anyone smooth out the
bumps and imperfections with a damp sponge. They always
create perfect joints with a few flourishing swipes of
their taping knife and I can damn well do that and besides
I can always sand out any minor imperfections that occur
due to my inexperience with a taping knife, mud and paper
tape. These instructions are lucky I actually consulted
them prior to opening the can. I did not need to, I was bored
and looking to see if the manufacturer knew anything and
clearly they do not, so I’ll just start mudding and taping and
swiping like I have seen on television and all will be right
in the fine state of New York, the Empire State, Excelsior!

And so I followed precisely my vision recipe for perfectly mudded and
taped and swiped joints with less than spectacular results, but hey it
was my first time and besides I still hold the sanding stage as
trump to smooth out any problem areas. The next day…I sand and
sand and sand and then I sand some more and then I quit about
half through the sanding process. I look like a piece of
carnival funnelcake heavily coated with powdered sugar. My
lungs are heavy with gypsum because real men do not use a
particulate, surgical, whimpy mask and anyway this is a small
project and I won’t create that much dust. However, there seems
to be a thin layer of dust on the dishes in the cupboard and
I left a trail of chalky footprints all the way up the stairs to the
bathroom where I rinsed myself in the shower and one of the cats
has rolled in the dust and looks like half ghost cat half real cat and
there are white catspawprints from the West side of the house to
the East and the North side to the South. Wow this is really a
mess. I better get the mop for the floors and re-wash these dishes
before Agnes kills me for not putting up a tarp like she recommended.

So I am now dreading having to finish the sanding phase of this project and
I am employing any means necessary to be away from the wall that now
calls to me every time I walk into the kitchen, finish me Steve, don’t
fear me, finish me, stop being so lazy, see you never can finish a
project, can you, just like they always said and so I find
reasons to not go in the kitchen and ways to be out of the house. It’s
awfully hot tonight, let’s go sit in the air conditioned bedroom and
read poetry or how about a movie or I would like to try out this
new barbeque restaurant out East or I would really prefer to just
drive around aimlessly rather than continue to hear those walls talk
to me because it really is wrong when walls talk. We always have
this starry wish of if only walls could talk, but I am here to
tell you that it is rather disturbing when it actually happens.

In a fit of sudden motivation on a slightly less hot and humid
July night, a Thursday night if recall correctly, I finally finished
sanding the talking walls and I applied the next coat of joint
compound and I let it dry and I figured, in a fit of what the hell, to
try running a damp sponge over the joints like it said to do on the
white can with the green lid and damn it if it did not smooth the
imperfections and help feather out the edges and I think wow this
is the best idea since pre-sliced, pre-package white bread and I
dutifully begin to smooth all of the joints with the damp sponge even
though it is 11PM, past my bedtime and I am using one of Agnes’s
kitchen sponges that she uses for washing dishes and it is far too
small to do this job quickly, but I am like a tornado spawned on the
high plains of Texas and I am going to keep going until I finish
this damned job. That is until Agnes comes down stairs and says put
down your sponge and let’s go make love in the airconditioned
bedroom and I may be thrilled with a certain degree of tornadic
enjoyment sponging these drywall joints, but that my friends is
an invitation I can not
refuse.

So, I’ll finish sponging at some point this weekend and I’ll let
everyone know how the walls turn out, but this instance makes me
wonder if reading instructions on cans is actually beneficial, what
other pillars of masculinity are false or should at least be
call into question. Could it be we really should stop at the
next gas station and ask directions or that we really should call
an electrician to fix the lights because we just might not know
what we are doing and might electrocute ourselves or that opening
the hood of a car and peering in is just folly and show? What other
pre-conceived man ideals might be false? My whole view of
masculinity has been called into question because following the
instructions on the white can of joint compound with green lid
actually resulted in a superior conclusion than my own vision
recipe. My pillars, my foundation, my support structure is cracking and
I do not know what to do. But then God came to me, in a dream, a
daydream actually and said it’s just a fluke dude, you’re good, the pillars
are strong, move on my son and I said thanks God and he said no
problem glad to help, but just one thing, next time…
you really should stop at the next gas station and ask directions.

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