In The Shop: The Christmas Tool Lottery

Published on: 21:17PM Dec 01, 2010

 Buying tools as Christmas gifts is always a gamble, because tools are such a personal thing to a guy. Especially this guy. I can spend an hour shopping, testing and comparing a simple set of slip-jaw pliers to carry in my belt holster, seeking the perfect combination of weight, fit, design and even appearance. What hope does my wife have of wandering through the tool department at Sears and coming up with something to satisfy someone that fussy?

(The same chance her husband has of finding clothes, household items or knick-knacks for Christmas presents that satisfy her stringent tastes, but...that's another story...)

There have been Christmas morning fiascos in our house. My wife has gamely attempted to guess at my tool needs and over the years presented me with an assortment of mechanic's chairs, a rolling "creeper" for working underneath equipment, step-stools and flashlights. None of them were exactly the type, brand, model or design I would have bought for myself.I may not have appeared as excited at receiving those gifts as I should have.

But, y'know, every one of them is at the dealership's shop, grease-stained and worse-for-wear, because she bought me practical tools that I can use every day. And even if they aren't the exact type, brand, model or design I thought I wanted, I treasure each of them because they all have a unique feature unavailable from all the others I could have bought for myself.

They are gifts from my wife.