The next thing I knew I was petrified, on Leroy Merlin, in front of a jackhammer. Ten thousand reais. Splitting it into twelve, I calculated, it would be around 800 a month. Is expensive? IT IS. But does it? Dove. Why not?
What would I do with a jackhammer? It would break things, obviously. What things? I don’t know. But I was sure that life, with its infinite wealth of opportunities, would present me with “crushable” situations. And, let’s face it, even if it didn’t, we can always find loopholes.
My friend Márcio, for example. He shoots a bow and arrow. When he bought a bow, did he think about hunting pheasants? Jacus? Did he imagine defending himself against an Apache attack? Not. He wanted, with the bow, what I wanted with the jackhammer. Every weekend he goes to a club and shoots targets. Why couldn’t I find the targets for my jackhammer? It would be a jackhammer, say, for recreational use. It would be my kayak. My drone. My kite.
Before this rationalization, however, in front of the jackhammer, I tried to convince myself of its usefulness. What house doesn’t have a wall, a wall, a sink, whatever, that can’t be knocked down? And even if there isn’t. Don’t we have friends? Family? Does anyone in my circle of friendships need to break a floor? a slab?
In case there was no possible use, I even imagined myself in the crime. Like a tagger. I’d leave the house at night, jackhammer in the trunk. I would, I don’t know, go to Vila Nova Cachoeirinha. to Jundiaí. Angatuba. I would break a sidewalk, knock over a statue and get back in a million in the car, running away. In a more civilizing vibe, who knows, maybe I would volunteer for demolitions? (Fighting Rooster: are we going to take down the nefarious Borba Gato?).
It wasn’t the first time I felt this itch. Leroy Merlin touches something very deep in “my self”. Something 20th century “straight cis white male.” (Sorry. I am). Home & Construction also has this power.
Ten years ago, I moved to Granja Viana. I was five minutes in front of an axe. It was like a cartoon. Woodpecker. Wooden handle, red blade with metallic sharp edge. I tried to convince myself: I live in the countryside.
One day, a tree will fall in the middle of the street. Someone will ask: “who has an axe?!”. And I would show up. I would cut down the tree. I would come out as a hero. I was not convinced. I wouldn’t even be able to use the axe. Maybe kill or die in the process.
Ten thousand reais. Divided into twelve… The ax was much cheaper. Just like a hundred meters of rope. A fishmonger. A wheelbarrow. The other day, returning from a party, I passed Leroy’s. Moved by post-quarantine excitement and alcohol effluvia, I changed Uber’s destiny. I entered. An umbrella: who doesn’t? A wheelbarrow: will you know when you need it? Bricks, cement, sand: it’s always good to be prepared. strings. One hundred meters of ropes. Two hundred. If I have to tie the felled and cut tree with the ax to take it in the wheelbarrow?
Yup. I’m a white male, straight, cis, fragile and lost like Tony Soprano or Walter White. I do not, in any way, ask for your compassion. Everyone is more screwed than I am. I know. But there is an emptiness in my chest that, in the aisle of Leroy’s “hardware” or in the shelf of “drills and drills” at Casa & Construção, I feel can be filled. Ten thousand. Split into twelve. From the?
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