I am somebody


A person toils in anonymity so much of their life and only hopes to
catch a sliver of occasional spotlight. My recognition came last week
and it arrived via US Mail; I have finally made it.

I like to purchase tools on occasion. I don’t like cheap wrenches or
socket sets because they cost you more than a good set does because
they break and you need to replace them. I like the Northern Tool
catalog company because they have good stuff. Now, my good sense in
choice of tools doesn’t always extend to good shopping. I make a few
purchases of “quality tools” which I probably don’t need but it is
just this sort of impulsivity which brought me to instant

Tuesday afternoon, I became a very important person; I received the
Northern Tool catalog-in hard cover. I have received many soft cover
catalogs from Northern and even a couple seasonal catalogs, however
this tome of products arrived hard covered, bound and encased in the
most indulgent of cardboard wrappers. It was beautiful.

There it was, my name on the back of the hardcover Northern Tool
catalog. The whole experience reminded me of the scene in “the Jerk”
where Navin Johnson (played by Steve Martin) found his name in the
phone book and was overcome with happiness. He said “this is the kind
of spontaneous publicity, your name in print- that makes people. I’m
somebody now!”

The look of the catalog brought me back to days spent awaiting the
Montgomery-Ward Christmas catalog. I remember the surge of adrenaline
and hit of lightheadedness that accompanied the glossy pages of stuff
I didn’t need, but desperately wanted. Tuesday, I was like little
Ralphie from “the Christmas Story,” when he finally received his
“official Red Ryder carbine-action, two-hundred shot, range model air
rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time.” I
felt validated, excited and very much like I had taken an important
step towards being an adult.

Last night, I placed the catalog on the coffee table next to my spot
on the couch. The cover consists of a beautiful wood grain background
with the familiar Northern Tool logo stenciled, in an understated
manner, along the top. The catalog is filled with hand tools powered
by non-human sources, tractors, power washers, power screwdrivers,
power seats, power sawmills, power everything, except for power
suits. Every page is like one more step as I ascend “macho mountain.”
It is lovely to feel like such a complete man, all from the comfort
of your own sofa; complete with soft blankets, three cats, remote
control and coffee.

I brought the catalog to work, just to show off. I became the center
of attention if only for a moment. It could have been the beautiful
bound and printed form of all tools of the manly arts gathered in
place. At second thought, it could just be the change receiving the
catalog had made in me-I, like Navin Johnson, had finally become


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