DIY – making idiots feel stupid since about 1995.

Rememberthose makeover programs? Rammed the TV schedules before Britain discovered baking. Lawrence pretentious-git-twat stencilling Tigers arses on lime green walls thendeclaring it ‘modern and zesty with an undercurrent of primal longing’ or some such shit? I do, and not much has changed in 20 years other than a ever lengtheninglist of in house projects which have gone horribly wrong.

Previously on the hedgehog, my inability to engage with how other believe Sundays should be wasted has been put down to guileful rubbish-ness and a somewhat more basic laziness. More recently, it’s become apparent my missing DIY gene is not a displacement tactic – no it’s just that I’m really shit at it.

Picture a Venn diagram with circles representing cack handed, clumsy, impatient and clueless, andfind me maroonedat the intersect point. Spitting out screws,whileabsent-mindedly emulsioning the dog.

Yet even knowing the result of even a smidgen of home improvement action will result in either calling out the fire brigade or the bomb squad, I’m always ready* to have another go.

We’re not talking artisan furniture creation here; beard stroking craftsmanship whittling this and shaping that before a wardrobe – imbued with such rustic authenticity it comes supplied with the original tree – emerges triumphant from a flurry of shavings.

What we have insteadis something a little simpler; one plank of pre-drilled wood to be attached to one flat wall. Supplied complete with screws, raw plugs and, because I was intricately involved, an idiot.

This woody ordering of chaotic coats required three drilled holes to receive what I believe is known as the ‘mounting equipment’**.Instantly I dispatched myself to the shedofdreams(tm) to dust off terrifying power tools, each accessorised with whirly-death-metal evisceratorsstraight out of the Mad Max props department.

Encouraged by having the tools for the job, I even broke out the spirit level to reinforce my tool handling proficiency.The first hole was a triumph, almost round and ready to receive a stiff rawplug to its diameter. A fine start barely diminished by it occupying a location some 50 millimetres from the optimal position.

Easy mistake to make. Drilled three more in quick succession, whichfrom a distance (say space) had horizontal alignment written all over them. Believingthe worst was over, I was stuffing rawplugs like a man desperate to discover if the giblets had been left in a dead chicken. The difference being what went in refused to come back out.

Professionalism now out of the window and accelerating fast from the scene of the crime, the prospect of understanding why this might be never got close to usurping some light hammer action attempting to rectify the problem.Leaving me with three rawplugs which still didn’t fit, but were now nicely splayed across some freshly cracked plaster.

Not being one to give up when the odds are against me, I scuttled back to the shed in search of a big sodding knife to hack them flat. This was – to my mind – the perfect solution until, some days later, the whole edifice crashed from the wall creating a localised coat tsunami.

Luckily, and before I accidentally hacked my own head off, Carol came to the rescue removing them using some kind of arcane magic. Smoking newts the lot. No way there was a simple solution that didn’t involve – for want of an example – manly warnings of ‘fire in the hole’

Determined to reassert my DIY authority, I cleverly repurposed the drill as a custom ‘hole enlarger’ which, while triggering a ‘Beavis and Butthead’ snigger, didn’t really solve the problem.

Well it did in that the plugs-of-bastard now fitted into the enlarged aperture for a given value of ‘fitting’. Fitted in, fell straight out. Like throwing sticks down the Mersey Tunnel (I might at some point get bored of crude sexual references but we’re 500+ words in, and it’s not looking likely)

Still pleased with my work, we offered up this ‘simple to fit coat-rack’ which went well tothe point wherethe last screw failed to engage with that tossing raw plug, and instead inserted itself insidiously into the rather wider hole I’d made to get the bloody thing to fit in the first place.

With a heartfelt ‘OH FUCK THIS’, I sulked off back to the shed and instead attempted to fix only mildly broken things on my bicycles. I think we can all guess how well that went.

The only conclusion that can be drawn from all this is some people are born with a generic ability to bevel, while the rest of us are left to frustrating muddle through in impotent useless-ness.

The solution is staring us in the trades directory; get a man in whose easy competence and balletic power tool operation leaves me both in awe and irritated.

I console myself with the thought that I’m quite good at doing the stuff that makes me money, even if nobody can actually identify what that might be***. I can even write stuff that desperate content seekers will pay real cash for.But put a screwdriver in my hand, and it’s just going to be disasters wrapped up in chaos until someone loses an eye.

So I’m giving up. Accepting I am just shit at this kind of stuff, and admittingit’s not going to get any better. Buying more tools or taking more time is merely throwing good cash and time at bad technique and stupidity. Even paintbrushes are probably an implement well beyond my meagre ability.

So I’m off the mow the lawn instead. Assuming I don’t set myself on fire starting the lawnmower. 50/50 chance I reckon.

* Assuming it’s raining, there nothing on the Internet, and I’ve failed to escape the questioning glare of the house’s only proper adult.

** had to check the instructions quite carefully at this point. Expected them to be rated 18. Some disappointment followed especially when reviewing the diagrams.

*** I’m not being enigmatic, I don’t know what it is either.

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