Cliff put new strings on my guitar Monday. He isn't musical, but he is much better at putting strings on than I am. He puts them on, I tune them. It's been at least four years since I re-strung my guitar, probably more. I know the strings had been on there since before I sang at church the first time, and that's surely been three years or more. I've never worried much about dead strings because nobody heard it but me anyhow, but evidently I'm going to be singing once a month as long as I go to this church. So... new strings.
Once the new strings are on the instrument, the ends of all six strings are waving about like a wild hairdo and need to be cut off. Cliff, for a wonder, didn't have any pliers on him that would cut the excess string ends off.
"Aren't the side-cutters in your pliers drawer in the shop?" I asked.
Yes, he said. I told him I'd go get them next morning and do the job.
However, when I opened the drawer, I didn't find what I wanted. There was a pair of side-cutters with a little bitty mouth (?) on it, but it had been used under duress, because there was a chunk out of the cutting part. Back at the house I told Cliff I didn't find what I was looking for, and described the ones I wanted.
"Oh, those," he said. "They're in the toolbox of the John Deere. I'm afraid I've been pretty hard on that pair too."
Later he went out to putter on his current project, and I started wondering just how much a pair of side-cutters cost. Why wouldn't he get a decent one? We aren't rich, but surely we could afford any kind of pliers a man might use.
It didn't take long to find what I wanted, and it was a brand name I recognized with excellent reviews. I ordered them without mentioning it to Cliff.
They arrived today. I opened the package, handed them to Cliff, who was sitting on the couch reading a book, and said, "Now, when I go looking in the toolbox for some side-cutters, I expect to find these in the pliers drawer."
He laughed for five minutes. I still don't know what was so funny. When he stopped laughing, he said there was a different long-nosed pair out there that would have worked just fine.
Yeah, right... if you don't mind a hole broken out of the cutting edge. These new ones are the kind I'm used to, and they only cost $5.65. Why on earth... oh well. I gave up trying to understand his logic long ago. Everything will be fine as long as those shiny new side-cutter pliers are in the drawer next time I string my guitar, which probably won't be until the year 2025.