Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cross that one off the list.

While it's true that I do have strong nerdlike tendencies at times — running Linux, degree in physics, a mild obsession with the English language — I take pride in my ability to work with power tools. I don't mean some rinky-dink rechargeable screwdriver (although I do own one); I mean the big ones, the loud ones, the "you'll do big damage to yourself if you fuck with these" ones.

So, yesterday, I officially added "jackhammer" to my checklist of power tools (which includes table saw, bandsaw, cutting torch, arc welder, lathes of the wood and metal variety, circular saw, jigsaw, belt sander, and a few I'm probably missing). It's the biggest, loudest and most phallic power tool I've ever used, and I can't think of one which could top it (save for gas-powered hole-auger, one of those big-ass pile-drivers and, naturally, an oil derrick).

Earlier this week, my buddy says to me, he says, "Hey, want to come over on Saturday and help bust concrete out of my back yard so I can lay down some lush, verdant vegetation?" I figure it was either going to involve a sledgehammer or a jackhammer, so I told him I'd be in for that. Fortunately, he rented a couple of medium-sized jackhammers (I think most professional ones are pneumatic, but these were electric), and we had at it.

What I never realized about these things is their sheer weight — I bet these things tipped the scales at over 70 or 80 pounds apiece. When you have the lever pressed down and the thing is bashing away at whatever it's sitting on, all you do is basically guide the thing and let its own weight do the pushing. The problem is, though, once you've let it bust through whatever is in its path, you have to lift the thing back up to go again — and, as I mentioned, the thing is a friggin' beast. Plus, you have to do this countless times. The moral of the story is that my biceps hurt today.

The thing does shake you a bit, but it's not as bad as cartoons would have you believe. If everything's going well, all the vibration is directed downwards, and the energy is absorbed by whatever it is you're trying to break apart. Then again, things don't always go well, and you do end up sometimes getting your body all-shook-up.

And so, with sore arms, I'm playing two baseball games later this afternoon. Hooray for Tylenol.

No comments: