Okay, this is lunch break, so let’s keep it brief.
I don‘t do that no more, movie hammering.
I’m keeping it real on this worksite, just bam
bam bam bam wham! all day long. Gets me
three squares a day—meals, I mean meals,
it’s slang. I don’t mean the tools, I’m not into
squares, nothing like that, people are always
looking for the worst part of Hollywood or did
I miss something? Isn’t that what you’re looking
for? Crazy tool box orgies with plenty of machine
oil? No? Ok, look I’m sensitive about that, a lot
of folk came out the other side with someone,
but me, seemed I could never find the right saw.
Look I’m as broad minded as the next tool, squares
are fine, I mean, if they’re adjustable then fine
but with set squares everything is ninety degrees
and there’s no arguing. I hate tools like that.
Still, butting heads is part of the game.

The guy who uses me pays an appreciation
charge. That’s what I call it, for the privilege
of bringing me to work, and he’s happy to pay,
because how many guys on this worksite
can say they have a fucking movie star
in their work belt? Not many, is the answer
to that one; although I did hear that Dribbly Drill
has gone back to the metal shop. It figures,
he’s such a gear head. What can I say? I was young,
thought I could be a star, not like all the others
who thought they were going to be stars, no,
I was going to nail this town. When it happened,
it was great. I walloped all the big guys; Daffy
will always be my favourite. His routines kept
changing. Even if it was only the old hammer
to the head joke, he kept it real, always found
a new way to work it. That duck has real talent.
But in the end, sitting around the lot for eight,
twelve hours a day, to do 5 minutes of shooting
and all of it, retake after retake … that’s not what
hammers are made for. I couldn’t take it, I had
to work. Bang things into place. Drive a big spike
and move onto the next one. Movies were nice
but this is satisfying. I can go to the pictures any
time I want, walk out, go home and sleep well.
Okay there’s the lunch whistle, gotta go.
Listen on your way out, let Larry — my guy
over there — know you’re doing a book on
all us cartoon folk, remember him who I am;
shine my handle a little, you know? Thanks!
See you in the pictures kiddo!
(Handy Hammer’s biggest role was in Disney’s film John Henry. GG)
<Handy Hammer copyright Emerson Maxwell. You can find Emerson on Instagram @emersonsmaxwell . Yes, Emerson is my nephew. No, there was no coercion involved, other than familial, wm>