Back to School: A New Trimester


Dear Polly,

I missed you on the first day of the new trimester, but, girl, you are so lucky you weren’t there. We couldn’t play on the tools until everyone got officially registered, so instead, we watched a series of videos about power tool safety, which was one chainsaw short of a massacre. As if I needed any more reason to worry.

Apparently, 175 million people every year go blind due to workplace injury. That eye-popping statistic was delivered by a man standing inside a sports arena to illustrate how many humans it represents. Maybe the figure was actually closer to 30,000 a month. I wasn’t really paying attention. I had my baseball cap pulled down low to keep images of carnage from getting in my brain. I mean, my sensitive soul didn’t sleep for weeks after watching that season of The Wire with the nailguns. Still, the number was big, and it was accompanied by a particularly gory demonstration of an egg being punctured and oozing ketchup. I’m not sure what kind of molecular gastronomy they had to use to get the ketchup inside a hard-boiled egg; nonetheless, I was reminded that by enrolling in construction school we have indeed put ourselves in harm’s way.

YouTube’s greatest hits of worst-case scenarios went on for hours, as the school’s registration process dragged on. As it turns out, the enrollment bottleneck was due to an unexpected surge of nursing students at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology. Here’s hoping those newbie nurses learn to extract a 16-penny nail from a retina as soon as possible.

Day one of the new trimester was so gruesome that I’ll be surprised if the four new students stick with it. Speaking of which, we got another female classmate today, which brings our total to four in twenty.

I think you’re really going to like her. She’s artsy and works for a ballroom dancing school. She wants to build a mobile tiny house. I like the way she thinks. For example, after the nineteenth power tool snuff film, she finally raised her hand and asked if it would be possible, instead of watching all the ways NOT to use the tools, to watch some videos about the correct way to do things?

Amen, sister.

That’s all you’ve missed so far, Polly. That and a little drywall work. You’d be so proud of me. I used the multitool to pull out the sheetrock and add some blocking for the countertop brackets in the new break room. I can’t wait to show it to you. Hurry back and get registered.



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