So. Yesterday, I picked a whole bunch of stuff up from the framing gallery owned by an old friend of my father (and, as fate would have it, of Vodka McBigbra’s ex-husband). I realized that I couldn’t remember where my old hammer had gone. Which meant it was time to go hammer shopping. But since I’m me (since I’m myself?) it had to be complicated and ideological and stuff like that.
Lowe’s is not my favorite place to shop — for some reason I slightly prefer the Home Depot, and I’d prefer staying home to both. Since I was unwilling to wait for Amazon to deliver a hammer to me, however, I had to make the trip and Lowe’s was the closest applicable store to where I was having lunch.
Lowe’s has about thirty different hammers available. Twenty-eight of those hammers have something in common: they’re made in China. They have different names and different logos on them, but they’re all the products of mystery factories overseas. Shame, because some of them had interestingly-shaped handles constructed out of steel and aluminum and possibly carbon fiber.
The Vaughan California Framer, on the other hand, is an old-school wooden hammer with your choice of nineteen or twenty-three ounce heads, made in the United States since 1869 or something like that. Their hammer lineup is impressive and contains many technologically interesting items, but Lowe’s only stocks the two California Framers.
I bought the heavier of the two, because buying a lighter hammer is like buying a lighter softball bat: it implies you’re a pussy. It was twenty-five and a half bucks out the door, about twice the price of the Chinese hammers. Then I went home and drove a total of five nails into the wall studs, hung the pictures, and called it a day. Obviously any hammer would have done that job just fine. Perhaps a hammer wasn’t strictly necessary; I hung the last framed picture I bought, some time ago, using the back of a large adjustable wrench.
Still, it seemed like a good idea to buy a proper hammer, made in this country by people who appear committed to the idea of American manufacturing. Now I have a hammer, should one be required. Overall, I’d say that yesterday was a pretty decent day. Just one quibble: Vaughan is based in Illinois. Why is the hammer called the “California Framer?” Were the Eagles involved somehow? Why isn’t anything ever called the Ohio anything?