My son Brandon leaves for college in a just about a month, and that’s something that’s going to require a bit of adjustment. That is, a bit of adjustment for him. For me, it’s going to require a tsunami’s worth, but I guess I’ll be okay after three or four or 27 years.
Rent A U-Haul? How about a They-Haul?
“Off to college, big guy!” I said to Brandon the other day. “It’s going to be a bit traumatic, I’m afraid.”
“Oh, Dad, don't worry! I’ll be coming home soon for the holidays before you know it!”
“That’s not what I’m talking about in this instance,” I replied. “I’m talking about the moving itself. How are two klutzes like us going to handle it?”
It’s true. In the best traditions of the Jewish people, both Brandon and I are about as handy as a pair of silk gloves at an engine tune up. I get nauseous turning a screwdriver, and Brandon for the life of him can't figure out why Judah Maccabee is called the Hammer since he’s rarely ever seen one in real life. Together we are the most unlikely father/son duo to have a shop in the basement since Prince William and the Royal Baby.
“You’re right, dad,” said Brandon, “this isn’t going to be easy. We’ll have to rent a U-Haul.”
“A U-Haul? How about a They-Haul?”
“Dad, most people don’t hire movers when they go to college!”
“Yes, but most people are able to put batteries in a flashlight without electrocution risk.”
“But, Dad, aren't almost all Jewish people somewhat unhandy?
“True, but how many Jews require a schematic to put on a tallis?!”
There is no question about what’s ahead: an insurmountable amount of insurmountably insurmountable work. There will be assembling and disassembling, wiring and rewiring, screwing and unscrewing, and kvetching and kvetching as there is no such thing as diskevetching, rekvetching, or unkvetching.
I dug out an old tool kit of random tools in the basement and tried to scope them out as best I could. I was pleased that I readily comprehended the pair of pliers and the wrench until I realized that a pair of pliers and a wrench are not normally made out of red plastic, over a foot and a half long, and embossed with the name "Hasbro." Now these tools would have been easy to work; the others were all small and silvery and depressing.
And of course there will be lots and lots of packing, lifting, positioning, and repositioning, all of which is difficult for someone who’s wholly unable to fit his underwear in a suitcase without having to bump his shoes. How will I ever figure out at what angle to pack the desk so it won’t scratch the bureau and smash the mirror --- as if I don’t have enough bad luck! How will I help carry the bookcase without mangling half a dozen toes? That's counting both my toes and Brandon's.
But all is not lost.
“Dad, I’ve terrific news!” Brandon said yesterday.
“I hope so, “I responded weakly.
“Turns out my roommate isn't Jewish! Odds are all we'll have to do is get to school and we’re home free!”
Good enough. Looks like I’ll only need the big red pliers for the packing up.