Thursday, September 10, 2009

Xenophilic Xylograph 9/10/09

Monday, August 25, 2008
12:02:05 AM EDT

Xenophilic Xylograph

When you locate good in yourself,
approve of it with determination.

Xun Zi

This event happened many years age when I was doing a season of summer theatre. The theatre was located near a beach and there was a pier with two buildings on it. One building had a wooden staircase that led from the pier up to a porch, and inside was the rehearsal area. The rehearsal went from 10 until noon. I wasn't involved in it that morning so I was sitting on the pier with my script.

Our Technical Director, Bill, came out of the shop with 4 large planks of fresh lumber, went back inside and came back out with a hand saw, a claw hammer, a saw horse, a bucket of nails and a ruler. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was going to replace the stairs. I figured that it would be a day's work.

I didn't know the dimensions of those planks of wood, but they were thick and long. Because a power tool would have disturbed the rehearsal he took a hand saw and, after ha had measured everything, he cut 10 identical grooves in both of the larger boards. They were so perfectly cut that when he reached the corner of each one the triangular piece just fell out onto the pier. He also cut the corners off of each board. I kept wondering when his arm was going to fall off.

Then he set them aside and measured the thinner planks and cut 10 identical pieces from them. The he stretched out the two larger planks parallel and braced them against the building. He took the smaller pieces he had just cut and with the hammer and some nails from the bucket, he attached each plank neatly into the grooves of the large boards. He then lifted the whole thing up and braced it against the porch.

He climbed the old staircase with the hammer and the bucket. He pried the old staircase loose and let it fall on the pier below. He then pulled over the new one and with large nails attached it to the porch.

He picked up the hammer and bucket and ran down the stairs. He put the tools away and took the old staircase into the shop to dismantle it.

I was amazed I said that I couldn't believe what he had just done. He said that there was nothing to it, and then said "I'm a good carpenter." I agreed.

In a moment or so the rehearsal stopped and the actors came tromping down a brand new staircase on the way to their break. Nobody knew how it got there, but I did. There was nothing to it.


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