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The Worst Handyman Mistake of All Time

In a recent dispatch from the front lines of home repairs, your humble correspondent reported that a surprisingly large number of homeowners leave damaged and stained walls as they are, without ever trying to fix them.

While this was dispiriting to yours truly, whose modest calling is to fix things that are broken, I did concede there are a few RARE examples where doing NOTHING to damaged and stained walls might be the BEST thing to do.

For instance, you know that painting of 12 dudes and the Big Guy sitting at a dinner table, all in a row facing out, arranged in wedding party style? (Not great for dinner conversation if you ask me, but then again nobody would ever ask me — I’m just a handyman, not Leonardo de Vinci).

Anyway, you might have assumed this painting is mounted in a pretentious, wooden, over-the-top carved gilded frame, and is hanging on a wall in, let’s say, the Vatican, at the back of a roped-in area with 2 never-smiling guards in the front. Well in retrospect, that WOULD have been a great idea, to protect the painting from — of all people — HANDYMEN. But it’s a little bit too late for THAT now. Let me explain.

You see, this particular picture is actually painted DIRECTLY ON A WALL in a small church in Milan, Italy. Didn’t know that, did you?

You probably also didn’t know that some time in the 17th century the leaders of that church decided they didn’t like the traffic flow in their sanctuary. So they hired two Italian handymen — let’s call them Mario and Luigi — to cut through a wall to create a new doorway.

Legend has it that at one point on the day Mario and Luigi showed-up for work, these sounds rang-out and echoed throughout the church: “Bang! Bang! Bang! CRASH! … MAMA MIA!!!”

What was all this about? Look at the picture to the right which shows an expanded view of the painting, including the usually cropped-out part at the bottom. Yep, that’s a DOORWAY where HIS feet should be! Now, we know HE had feet because we are told He WALKED on water, am I right?

To tell you the truth, no one really knows how this doorway came to be. Was it a church volunteer do-it-yourselfer failing spectacularly to perform a good deed? Was a hungry Mario or Luigi in a rush to grab a cannoli for lunch? Did a handyman awed by the painting become so distracted that the handy phrase “measure twice, cut once” didn’t come to mind in time?

In any event, the tragedy of this event would only be compounded if we didn’t try to learn something from this worst mistake in handyman history:

  1. Only hire quality contractors
    Only hire people you have reason to believe know what on God’s-Green-Earth they are doing. For example — oh, I don’t know — maybe you’d consider Fix St Louis. After all, our technicians have at least 10 years of experience, we’re ranked in the top 5% by Angie’s List, and have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. BTW, be careful with word-of-mouth referrals from friends or neighbors who once had something fixed by someone who seemed like a nice fellow. Did that well-meaning referrer perform a criminal background check and have a full understanding of that handyman’s skills and limitations?
  2. Make sure your contractors are INSURED
    Fix St Louis is covered for $2 million in damages. Not that it has ever been needed, nor that we wanted to test whether our insurance company really meant it. Although for full disclosure, I’m not sure our policy would cover “eternal damnation,” which hopefully was a rider in Mario and Luigi’s policy.
  3. Never have a contractor start a job without discussing it on-site before work begins.
    At Fix St Louis all our jobs, no matter how small, begin with a short meeting with the homeowner. Of course, I’d like to believe our technicians would have known instinctively that NO ONE’s feet should have been sacrificed for a doorway, not even those of the least disciple.

I bet all this time you assumed my interests were limited to fixing houses, and didn’t know about my passion for undamaged art. OK, so maybe the ability not to damage art is not as impressive as the ability to create it in the first place. But if you call Fix St Louis, I promise we will make your house look a whole lot better, and not any worse.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis