Proper Tool

As each day passes with my three young children I become more and more aware of the sacrifices that my own parents made for my brothers and I when we were children. There were so many things that we just took for granted. One such sacrifice that came to mind most recently is healthy and straight teeth. My brothers and I and spent in excess of 20 plus combined years going to the orthodontist and I am quite sure my father single handily paid our orthodontist harbor front home mortgage most of that time. It didn’t stop at the orthodontist, we all three had at the very least three major oral surgeries a piece from wisdom teeth, to gum grafts to pediatric molars that just simply would not come out, dad spent thousands of dollars for our pearly whites instead of buying himself a bigger boat.

I distinctly remember fishing offshore with my father in my early twenties not too long after all that dental work. On this occasion I was re-rigging a 50-pound mono outfit and cut the line with my two front teeth. I had been using my teeth for years to cut mono but this was the first time my father had ever witnessed me abusing my high dollar teeth first hand. Dad had a sheer look of horror on his face at first that quickly turned to a very stern expression followed by “I better never see you do that again.” I was in my twenties but my dad had every right and I knew it. “Use the right tool for the job son,” and he passed me his pair of rigging pliers.

As the years rolled on I would still on occasion use my teeth when dad was not around, but I at very least looked for my pliers first or at least didn’t cut anything over 20 pound test. Fast forward to present time and I usually spend several minutes looking for the pliers before I break down and use my teeth.

A couple of weeks back my family and I were in the keys on vacation. The blue tooth receiver for the stereo died one afternoon on the boat and knowing how much my family enjoys the boat radio when we are relaxing on the boat I knew I had better fix it. I made an hour round trip run to Stock Island West Marine and picked up a new receiver. When I got back everyone was ready to get back out on the boat so I went to work quickly installing the unit.

I had purchased butt connectors to connect the positive and negative 18-gauge wires and knew I could use my rigging pliers to crimp them. There was one problem, stripping two wires. Well I guess I failed to mention, but back in the day, I used to use my two front teeth for stripping 12-18 gauge wire on a regular basis. No big deal, I stripped the two wires with my teeth and installed the butt connectors crimping them using the rigging pliers and we were back in business. The family piled in the boat and we were out for an afternoon of chilling on a white sand beach with crystal clear waters. My wife let about an hour go by before she finally piped up and said, “thank you for fixing the radio, now let’s talk about what we are going to do about your chipped tooth.” I felt my front teeth and sure enough I was missing a small corner, the same corner I use for cutting mono and for stripping wires. It had evidently broke while I stripped the wire.

Upon returning to Charleston I was able to get into see my dentist the within a couple of days. Thank goodness for dental insurance as I was only on the hook for 20% which came up to $40 out of pocket. Nonetheless lesson learned and reiterated, use the proper tool for the job regardless of what you are doing!

Tight lines...
Captain Tim Pickett