ISSUE 92

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 Welcome to your recent remodel. AWWW YEAH. Aren’t you glad you didn’t hire a professional and just went for it? With YouTube at your side and a random selection of tools from the basement, you’ve tried really, really hard, completely underestimating everything from your ingenuity to how hard it is to hammer in a goddamn nail.
 The home improvement shows gave you all the inspiration you needed to demolish and dream but left you hanging when it came to the implementation of your dreams. Your ideas look so majestic and soaring from far away, but how full of flash floods and falling trees and men with bushy hair who eat children they are.
 If remodeling is a game, you are losing that game. In Little League, this means you get a participation trophy. In life, this means you are a lot worse off than when you started. No juice boxes or fruit snacks at the end—only more pain and alcohol.   
 Initially, the job was small, maybe putting up a shelf or screwing in a light plate. But then you realize the entire electrical system is outdated. Another lamp plugged into an outlet and your house would’ve been like a microwave with an explosive burrito in it. Your options were limited: move, let your house decay into a shack where people get murdered, or buck up and remodel.  
 With fate punching you in the face, you were left to be Hercules—if Hercules were an uninformed idiot with weak arms. Luckily, society built stores for people exactly like you. To find supplies, you roamed Home Depot and became so disorientated in McGuckin Hardware you vomited behind one of the service desks.
 Those were optimistic times. Shiny new purchases concealed your incompetence and destroying the outdated came easily. But two months later and you’re not done. You’re not even at a point where you can pretend you’re close. A box of stripped screws, a torn-out sink, a broken valve, twenty gallons of water on the floor, and a trip to the ER for a slipped disk have left you a quarter of the way finished with nothing in particular. The Taliban could have done a better job if they walked in and just blew themselves up.  
 At this point, you have to ask: Do I know what I’m doing? Should I be doing what I’m doing? Why do I feel disappointed and desperate, like Paul Ryan or a child who drops his ice cream and tries to eat it off the floor? These questions will be eagerly answered by friends and family.
 “Honestly, why would Hank even stay with this woman?” They say, sipping champagne and admiring their appliances installed without duct tape or frantic calls to the gas company. “It’s like she found a jackhammer and took out the cabinets, went in with a saw and cut random pieces of wood and screwed them to the floor. And then she got drunk and passed out.” It’s sad because it’s true.
 With your bathroom unusable, your pale wastrel children beg the neighbors to use their toilet, teeth chattering in the winter cold, clothed in strips of soiled linen. You usually judge people like yourself, the ones who can’t provide, whose children have rickets and kick around a deflated soccer ball for fun. But now you can’t judge. You can only cry.  
 For anyone else, it would be time to call a professional, a real man or woman who uses a nail gun, measures things with a tape, and has the brawny forearms of someone who rips apart sheet metal in their free time. They will have an overwhelming sense of superiority and walk all over your carpet with muddy shoes.  
 You, however, are not just anyone. You’re like a stubborn alcoholic. Problems are things other people have, whereas you have a slight issue you will resolve eventually. Plus, functioning appliances? Who needs those? Our ancestors didn’t survive with ovens and central heat and showers; they speared a boar, beat it against a tree, and slung it over their shoulders to feed Helga and Günter, their beefy children.  
 This will be a fine mentality until you realize how much a prehistoric existence sucks. Then, the only thing keeping you going is saying the job will be done eventually. Until that point, a closed door will let you dismiss the issue and pretend nothing is wrong, even when everything is wrong.
 Ashamed, you can only give visitors a coffee can when they ask to use the restroom and tell them to dump it over the fence. “Just a temporary measure until the bathroom’s done,” you say with a cracked smile. Oh, how you wish it were true.
   
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