My neighbor Barry loves his gadgets. You know the sort; spends half his time seeing the handyman channel and another half in his garage playing with his tools. There’s always something going on in Barry’s garage. His wife Linda says at least she knows where he’s all the time.
“Better in his garage than down at the local drinking hole getting blind!” she’ll tell you.
Anyhow, three weeks past it was Barry’s birthday and he’d been on about getting a chainsaw. Linda and the children got the message. Right on cue, a chainsaw found it’s way into Barry’s garage. He was rapturous. He could not wait to show me.
“Look mate, a fresh member’s been added to the family,” he said to me like the proud dad he was. ” It’s going to be a fantastic addition to your family.”
“Family?” I answered looking slightly puzzled. “You mean tool set don’t you?”
“No partner, my tools are like my extended family. I love ’em,” he declared proudly.”This chainsaw’s going to take pride of place!”
“What the hell have you been going to do with a chainsaw in the suburbs?” I inquired. “I mean it is not like you are going to need it to go out and get firewood. You do not even have a wood fireplace!”
Barry massaged his chin and gave me a piercing stare. He paused for a minute and then in a quiet controlled tone he calmly pointed out to me… “Mate, you never know when a storm might strike.” best chainsaw on the market held up the chainsaw and with nodding acceptance said, “This small baby might just become a lifesaver.”
“Yeah right partner,” I answered sarcastically. “Next you will be telling me you will carve your christmas turkey with it.”
“Hey good notion,” Barry answered with a sly smile. “I will tell Linda to remove the carving knife!”
We walked into his garage with Barry pointing out with great pleasure where his new family member would spend most of it’s time. “That’s where I’m parking it until I have to use it.”
“Use it. You’ll never need to use it,” I exclaimed. “And anyway Barry, if the time ever came for you to produce your chainsaw… and we’d probably all be dead by then anyway… do you know the best way to operate it?”
“I certainly do mate. I have done a crash course with a chainsaw pro on the operation and security processes of chainsaws,” he explained in a forthright manner.
I retorted quickly. “A crash course! You are kidding right. How difficult could it be to work one of these things, I mean, it’d be just like using a lawnmower would not it? You only rev it up and away you go.”
Barry looked at me with a bemused expression on his face. He nearly had a relaxing existence come over him. I knew this look. Previously it meant I’d get a lecture… A “Barry style crash course” in the use of among his “family members.” In other words, I was about to be educated… Barry style, and I despised it when he made me feel like a moron.
“Partner, partner, partner,” he started in a smug tone. “This chainsaw can be very dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced user. Are you aware how many people are injured in chainsaw injuries each year?
“Well..yeeaaah,” I’d answer in a irresolute manner.”Quite a few I imagine.” (I had no idea actually.) “I’d say…”
“Thousands!” Barry butted in without letting me finish. “Thousands. Mate these things are deadly in the wrong hands!”
I smiled and said, “Barry I understand what you mean. Someone should have pointed that out to the Texas Chainsaw assassin. It would…”
He cut me off again. This time he meant business. “It’s not funny mate. Come on. I am trying to be serious here.”
I backed off and said, “Hey, I know. Sorry partner.” Then I went into serious mode. Barry was the kind of man who loved to give advice. He expected you to absorb what he said. He only loved to describe how things worked. Therefore I listened. He gave me that fixated look before he continued.
“Now before you turn on a chainsaw there’s a couple significant security processes to contemplate. By way of example, after a thunderstorm when there is wood and debris lying around and you need certainly to cut it up, make sure One…” he held up his index finger at me.
“You’ve a suitable helmet system. Cover your head, face and ears. Two…gloves…
Three…protective pants and
Four… protective boots with steel caps.”
“Got it,” I said entusiastically. “But isn’t that a little excessive.”
Barry came back instantly. “Ask the poor guy lying in a hospital bed with a piece of wood sticking in his head or leg if this’s a little excessive.”
“Right mate. I hear you,” I said in an acknowledging tone. Barry went on.
“You must read the owners manual. Kickback injuries are common. The manual can help you in averting kickback. Make sure the chainsaw has all the safety features like a chain brake, catcher, spark arrester…”
Barry was in his element. He adored this stuff. “Make sure that the carburetor is correctly corrected. When it’s petrol-powered, only fill it when it’s cool. Be careful about using a dull chainsaw…”
“A boring chainsaw?” I interrupted. “What would you mean dull?”
“Dull is when the chain is worn. It can happen rapidly. Just by hitting the earth it is possible to dull a chain.”
“And why is this a difficulty Barry?” I’d ask again.
By this time Barry was on cloud nine now. He’d an audience even if it was only me but it gave him an opportunity to express himself a little.
“Well mate, it is a problem because the extra pressure you apply to a dull chainsaw raises the potential for injury. Remember, safety first.”
“Okay, got it,” although I still wasn’t totally comprehension but because Barry was a neighbor and a partner and because I had a habit of poking fun at him a bit, this was the least I could do to make him feel, well, a little significant.
“Never take a chainsaw when the engine is on. Only work on ground level, never from a ladder…” and he went on and on and on. “And eventually mate.”
“Yeah partner,” I’d ask enthusiastically again understanding I was just about by the end of my lesson.
“Never work when you’re exhausted or alone. That is why you’ll be my offsider when I am about to do a job with my chainsaw,” he said with a wry smile interspersed with a Fred Flintstone sort laugh.
That was a little Barry wit. Actually, it was about as funny as he ever got. A rare instant.
I had grin and react “Oh great friend, I can’t wait!”
“So mate, did you get all that,” Barry asked. “I will run through it again if you like?”
He was serious. I ‘d to think fast.
“You understand what Barry, I believe I heard my telephone,” I said slowly backing out of the garage. “Listen, thanks for the tips but I Have got to run.”
And with that, I was “outta there.”
I thought about what Barry had said and you know, it began to hit home that yes, a chainsaw is a useful appliance and yes, additionally, it may be dangerous if not treated with a little respect. Do yourself a favor and read the manual. Should youn’t enjoy to read ask an expert.
We need the Barrys in this world. It is all about balance. I’m confident you know someone like Barry. If not, then perhaps I’m able ot present you to my next door neighbor!