Saturday, September 04, 2010

If I had a hammer...

Today is upper class move-in day at Columbia University, so we are poised with boxes and suitcases to load out by taxi for a trip up Broadway to the upper Westside. Lucy's hammer is packed away in college boxes which will be delivered late in the day, so I made a quick trip to Home Depot on W. 23rd. Who would think that there might be a Home Depot so close to the Flatiron Building. The hammer is needed to knock her bed apart so that it can be lowered, and I suspect that the hammer is one of the most convivial of tools. No special degree or training required. With a simple hammer, a man becomes powerful in ways that a man without a hammer is not.

Years ago, when I was studying pottery at Memphis State University, we had a student go wacko. He earned the name, "Mack the Hammer," by coming into the clay studio with hammer in hand, and smacking on his hand and on the table, making threatening gestures. His threat was that he would shatter finished work or hit someone on the head. Security and psychological intervention stepped in before he was able to do much damage. Every single tool has mixed potential, destructive as well as creative use. Some of the destructive capacity of each tool is less easy to perceive than a smack on the head or busted pots.

It is a busy day, and not much to blog about. I want to begin describing how the arts can be used as an assessment tool for all other subject areas, even beyond the arts themselves. That will come later.

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