On Your Day Off...
BY ROBERT KEITH LEAVITT
Your hobby may track sawdust
on the rugs and get paint in
your hair. But it's worth it
THE Judge and his wife were showing off
their house, and we had come to the
cellar. Here, all but crowding out the heater,
was the Judge'* woiksbop, with its well
worn benches, its racks of tools, its battery
of machines, its hoard of choice woods and
its shelves of oddments in jars and boxes.
A half-finished ship model stood in a cor
ner. On the machinist's lathe gleamed a
newly-turned part for a fishing reeL Other
projects lay all about. "Watch out for that
gun," said the Judge, "I just re finished the
stock and it's still sticky." -
Among the guests was a chatty lady.
"My!" she said. "It must be grand to have a
husband so handy with tools. Think of all
you must save on odd jobs around the
I caught Mrs. Judge's eye, and there was
in it a great light of laughter — silent, but
hearty and wise — that showed what she
For it might as well be told, especially
on the eve of Hobby Week: the products of
home craftsmanship are many and varied,
but they rarely include odd jobs, and they
almost never add up to anything utilitarian
by money-saving standards. Nevertheless,
the end result of hobby crafts is practical
beyond all dollar measurement.
To make this clear, let me start by ad
mitting— for myself and unnumbered
thousands of other home-workshop addicts
— all the bad things you might say about
our hobby. And this goes for all of us, male
and female, expert or dub. It holds good, no
matter which of the skilled trades we as
sault: cabinetmaking or weaving, gun smith
ing or photography, flytying or pewter
whacking, boatbuilding or block printing...
Home craftsmanship is untidy, destruc
tive of skin and furniture, productive of flat
feet. It is extravagant of time and rough on
social obligations But it gives you a Some
thing you can get in no other way.
The home craftsman tracks sawdust into
the rugs, grinds paint into the guest towels,
spills chemicals on the butterfly table and
leaves upon the freshly painted kitchen
walls the mark of the Black Hand.
While he will not spare time or money
for ordinary dissipation, he is utterly un
able to resist the heady intoxication of
buying tools he might some time need.
On week ends when other people are out
of doors getting ozone in their lungs and
roses in their cheeks, he (or she) is indoors
breathing dust and oaint fumes and culti
va ting curvature of the spine. Let others
beautify themselves in sun and wind; he
would rather shred his epidermis with acci
dental nicks and cuts to create his own idea
of beauty in the things he makes. Long after
decent people are healthily asleep, you will
see him beneath the midnight Mazda, bent
over his work, his hair full of metal chips
and his head full of wonder at the way
materials can take shape and finished form
— for him.
No matter how skilled he becomes, he
never gets over his pleased astonishment
at this miracle : that something should come
into being beneath his hands where nothing
was before. He has toiled for endless hours
on each of many separate parts. Any one of
tJfem alone is prosaic, lifeless, scarcely in
teresting. But now at last all these various
pieces have come together (almost of them
selves, it seems) to become what he had
planned. They are no longer separate Parts,
but a Whole that has individuality and
He realizes with fresh surprise each time
that it was he, and no one else, who gave
this Thing form and purpose. He, alone, is
responsible. No wonder that the Thing
(whatever it may be) seems to him the most
perfect and desirable of its kind in the world.
It may be a pup in any other eyes but his.
It may look like something Junior did in
third-grade Self Expression. Or it may be a
masterpiece of which a professional could
well be proud. That doesn't matter. The point
is that he made it. It is his to love like a frail
child or to gloat over like the prize of a great
contest. He puts it in his home or his office
where he can secretly admire it while pre
tending to do something else.
No matter if he could have bought the
same thing for infinitely less money than
his time is worth. As a distinguished surgeon
once said, "If I were to put a price upon that
sideboard at the rate I charge my patients,
it would be one of the most expensive pieces
of furniture in the world. But I wouldn't
sell it for ten times even thai amount."
You see, the hobby craftsman acquires a
special scale of values. Many other things
he gathers on the way: a sound respect for
honest construction, a pride in thorough
workmanship ... but it is this scale of
values which is most valuable of all.
By some standards it is a warped scale.
On it, Keeping Up With the Joneses rates
below zero. So do most other store-bought
pleasures. The more things you make for
yourself, the less you covet anything you
cannot make. Money cannot buy the things
you want most to have, but only the tools
and materials to make them*.
A reprehensible Scale? Maybe. Who are
we craftsmen to say? All we know is the
simple truth that ours is one scale by which
it is easy to reach that goal — so far off by
most standards — Contentment.
Tkii Week Mtgtiiie
FOB A BETTER AMERICA
WDiiAl L NICHOLS, Editor
TOP SECRET! 4
by Otcar Sekisgall
GRANDMA THINKS FAST 6
by Horatio Wlniliii
"NO OTHER MAN" ·
by Alfred Noyot
SPRING SONG 10
fer ΓμΙ Fmsoll
EVERYBODY'S GAME 13
by Stanley frank
"MAR PATTI... " ;m..... 16
ky JsMts Me/ wy
WHEN BRATS VISIT - tO
by Emily Post
WHEN THE BISHOP FLEW THE MAIL M
by Joint leer
Cover by Sana
Ham·· and descriptions of all characters in fiction stories and semi-fiction
article· in this mass ri ne are wholly imaginary. Any name which happens
to be the same aa that of any person, tiring or dead, is entirely coincidental.
■All. In World War II, buck
privates were more exclusive than
you think. According to Lt. Col.
Randolph Leigh, in "Armed Forces
Digest." there were only 484,741 in
the ETO. Corporals, however, were a
dime a dozen — numbering 638,381.
MBSme JEWEL. A sense of humor
can sometimes be a liability, as at
tested by this tale from Cincinnati.
A young lady entered a local night
club and felt her cultured-pearl ear
ring give way. She grabbed for it but
it bounced into a gentleman's coffee
cup. Her boy friend said wouldn't it
be fun to wait and see how surprised
the man would be when he finished
his coffee and found a pearl in it. She
giggled and said it would.
But then complications set in. The
man decided his coffee was cold and
ordered another cup. As the waiter
whisked the cold coffee away, the
alarmed young lady grasped at his
arm and whispered: "There's a pearl
in that cup!" He just laughed and
scurried to the kitchen.
The couple then took their case to
the headwaiter, who, rather skepti
cally, allowed them to go out to the
dishwashing department. After a half
hour, they finally turned up the miss
ing jewel. But if you know anything
about women, you've probably
guessed the pay-off : During the melee,
the lady lost the other earring, and
they never did find that one.
■AS1E1. We understand there is a
man named John Mcllroy whose pro
A job for Mr. Mcllroy
fession almost defies terminology.
You might call him a "mustache
eradicator," because for the past 30
years he has been hired to go about
New York City and erase mustaches
on advertising boards. He estimates
that he's made 36,000 such operations.
He can handle beards too, but they
don't come up so often. For some
reason, the average signboard artist
sticks pretty much to mustaches, and
that's okay with Mr. Mcllroy be
cause beards are bigger and take more
time to clean off.
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