Issue 423

Issue 423

See You at the Races … Maybe

Rob-Portrait351You know that old saying about change being the only constant? Well, it’s true. In fact, I use the phrase quite often about one thing or another with my staff. Seriously, they all hear me say it, over and over. And over.

This time, my friends, the change applies to me. I’ve decided to hang up my woodworking apron. After more than 20 years of hitting press dates, I’m stepping down from my role as publisher, effective immediately. Already peeled my nameplate off the office door, in fact. It’s time to consider my options for a second career because, truth be told, I’ve reached the zenith of understanding about woodworking. I’ve said it all, thought it all, built it all, and published it all. It’s just time for this old cabinetmaker to try something new. The winds of change, well, they’re a blowin’.

So, I’d like to share a half dozen career ideas I have with you, and then have YOU decide which one suits me best. After all these years, I think you readers know me pretty well, and I’m all for group process! Give me your career advice at this great turning point in my life, please!

Therefore, for your consideration, here we go:

1) Power tool juggler. I know, I know, it sounds nuts! How can anyone make a career of pitching things up in the air and catching them? But hey, Cirque du Soleil keeps adding Vegas shows, and I’ve been known to toss up a circular saw or two in my time. Other cordless tools, too. I catch most of them, and those I miss don’t pass my tool test for durability. Actually, that’s why I started juggling them in the first place – for tool tests. None of our competitor magazines were doing it, and I thought it was high time to kick things up a notch. Yep, if it can be done with torches, axes and chainsaws, why not power tools? And, I sing country, too! Check out my world debut by clicking here. A country music singing juggler … there’s promise here, I can feel it.


2) Professional arm wrestler. Again, some of you might poo poo the idea of building biceps instead of bifurcating boards. But I’m proud of my pipes. They’ve lifted plenty of board feed in their time. A few years ago I advanced through a few amateur rounds in the Intergalactic Arm Wrestling Federation (IAWF). Truth be told, the “55 and Under” class was pretty brutal. Those bruisers caused me some nasty carpal tunnel syndrome, but double wrist braces helped restore most of my grip strength again. I’m 60 years strong this year, and the “Over the Hill” circuit looks ripe for the taking. If that new movie “Creed” is any indicator, old man Stallone still has a film career in the ring. Why not me at the IAWF arm-wrestling table? Eye of the tiger? Oh yeah … just let me at those geezers!


3) Surfer dude, again. Why not? I sowed some wild oats on California waters back in the 70s. I know my way around a riptide, and judging from my ability to hang ten on a combination jointer/planer in my shop, I haven’t lost my touch. Sure, the Twin Cities are a long way from Pacific surf, but dude, it could be totally gnarly all over again. California dreamin’. Definitely keeping this option on the front burner.


4) Yogi master. Age is just a state of mind, right? All these years in a woodshop have kept me as spry as a guy half my age, at least. I’m thinking that yoga instructor could be another reasonable side job to pursue. I can do a decent crisscross applesauce, and I’m in pretty good touch with my inner prana. Just try pulling off a “Downward Delta 10-Inch” pose, sitting on a contractor’s saw like I did, without removing the blade guard! It’s not easy, fellas. Whaddya think? Just spitballing here…


5) Blade huckster. And of course, there’s always sales… I work for a company that does a brilliant job of selling products, and being around those folks has taught be a few things about striking a good bargain. So, have I got a deal for you! Here’s an untapped market: jigsaw blade street vendor. I’d have to move to the Big Apple to make this one work, but have you seen the schlock you can buy around Times Square these days? Incredible! Still, among all that junk, no one is schlepping woodworking products. I could be the first! “Psssst. Hey, buddy, wanna buy some jigsaw blades? Two packs of bi-metals, ten bucks.”


6) NASCAR senior circuit. Not long back, DeWALT asked me to come down, and I was able to get up close and personal with their flashy pit crew and driver. Man, that was sweet indeed. I just stood by that gleaming race car and dreamed big dreams. The smell of burning fuel … impact wrenches blasting those lug nuts on and off … insanely fast lap times and the thrill of the chase. It’s been on my mind ever since. You should hear these cars howl inside a tool factory! If you think a 3hp table saw screams, it’s no contest against a supercharged race car. When my mind wanders in between paper vendor calls, the checkered flag flashes before my eyes. I think it’s trying to tell me something: I really do have a need, a need for speed.

And with that in mind, I leave you to cast the vote. It’s been a great ride, eZine readers. But help me take my victory lap! What second career suits me best? I hope to hear from you – or shoot me some fresh ideas. It’s a new chapter I’m starting here, and I look forward to your feedback.

Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal



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