Josh The Happy Carpenter

May22/ 2006

He had no idea I “needed him” but he was EXACTLY what I needed to defunkify me in a pre-Moochie Week. …. A positive young man who takes great pride in his work and who happily works for a small (and very successful!) company built on out-moded principles that talented people properly motivated and appreciated can still prevail ….  Hang in there my friends – Me and Josh are here for you in these troubling times.


Blondie and I are undertaking some rather extensive home renovations as we have now settled into our empty nest lifestyle.  Home Remodeling is usually synonymous with gargling razor blades and dropping really heavy weights on one’s bare feet unless one calls the fine folks at Wood Wise Design.  

For those of you in The Triangle considering remodeling, you can call Hank Wall & his team at Wood Wise Design …. or just go ahead and shoot a staple in your eye and undergo typical Remodeling Misery.  Josh The Happy Carpenter works for Hank at Wood Wise.

Josh is in his early 30s.  He and his wife moved here a year ago from Connecticut.  He has been a carpenter for 13 years.  He has been a happy carpenter for the past year.  How conscientious is Josh?  He measures THREE times and cuts once.  I watched him as he installed a ceiling on our screen porch.

I don’t profess to know the nuances of the master carpentry trade or how in the heck painters create that trompe d’ole effect or how to impart backspin on a golf ball with a one-iron …. or play a banjo and the list goes on.  But I can appreciate it when I watch a conscientious craftsman at work.  I knew better than to interfere w/ Josh while he was concentrating but we did get to chat as he was cleaning up his work area (WOW, what a concept.  I told you Wood Wise is “different!).

Josh absolutely loves what he does for a living …. now.  That puts him in a unique category with yours truly, Blondie, a buddy of mine in South Florida and a few dozen of you guys and gals.  The masses of men do indeed live lives of vocational disgruntlement and frustration.  Josh does not blame anyone for his prior circumstance.  He is just glad he found Wood Wise.  A young man who takes pride in his workmanship and does not expect something for nothing – my kinda guy.  YA THINK?

When Hank was hiring Josh he put him thru three interviews.  Josh said that was two and a half more than most contractors hiring “subs”.  “Usually if you show up with a hammer they hire you on the spot.”  Hank asked him questions about “Josh the person” and what he was looking for in a position with WoodWise.  “Usually its ‘are you legal’ and will you try and show up sober on Monday morning.”.  Josh knew Wood Wise was “different”.  Hank musta felt the same about Josh.   Hank, Dave, Susan, Kathy, Josh and their happy co-workers at Wood Wise Design. Some folks DO figure life out.  Some folks just whine and complain and blame others.

Hank wants craftsmen but he is also concerned with maintaining a cohesive team of tradesmen and support staff.  Not being the quintessential team player nor a master tradesman I am not WoodWise team material.   But they seem to appreciate me as a client.  It’s working out well.

While America is quite assuredly going to hell in a handbasket fueled by four+ decades of government mandated doltish ignorance.  Blondie and I will await The Rapture in our cozy remodeled cottage thanks to young men like Josh The Happy Carpenter.

Just hearing Josh’s enthusiasm about what he does, the pride he takes in it, the appreciation he has for his co-workers, et al.  His special joy is installing custom cabinets plum on an unplum wall.  Josh finds personal pleasure in getting the little things right.  Josh is telling us something.


Let me guess.  Many of you are grinding your back teeth down to the gums over “political crap”.  STOP IT!  I will not permit you to let this garbage dominate your thoughts and actions.  Yes, it’s every bit as awful as I warned you it would be a year ago and the really really gag-a-maggot crap is yet to come.  So what?   Rise above it.

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

  1. I walked around saying “Roland Garros ….. Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario …. Antonio Banderas and Oksana Baiul”  because saying all those words in an exaggerated accent tickles the roof of my mouth.
  2. Missus made reservations for us in August at Gideon’s Ridge Inn in Blowing Rock ….. because Bob In Camel City recommended it and we had such a good time last weekend.   BTW:  The column on The Blue Ridge Parkway melted down our e-mail box with favorable reader comments.  Apparently we are not the only ones who appreciate tranquility and God’s creation.  I figured that might be the case.
  3. I have not watched ANY news channel in five days and counting.  I can tell you exactly what was said without needing to watch.    Hold fast to your own standards of right/wrong.  If a voice in your head is screaming “those jackasses are f”in nutz!”  maybe there is a reason.
  4. I found several new “neat stuff” channels in the triple digit section of my cable array.  Fine Living Channel is a combo of HGTV and Food Network.  I haven’t watched TV in real time in months.  I DVR what I care to see and see it when I want to.
  5. Of course I watched Mike Fox’s Moochies.  What more can I say …. Reread the top of this column.  Worthy of praise.  Deserving of your full support and then there’s that “how come they behave themselves when their football and basketball contemporaries can’t seem to”.   How come?
  6. I cleaned out my office and my clothes closet.  I hauled out three hefty bags of superfluous accumulated crap from my office and two bags of not-worn-in-over-a-year clothes to Goodwill.  Very few tasks bring me the pure joy of “de-crapping” my daily life.  Redirect your energy to your family and friends and personal projects that make you feel good about yourself.  
  7. We went to see the latest Indiana Jones movie.  Kid had warned us not to.  Kid was right …. It’s a yawner.  A 20-minute car chase and all the obligatory snakes and evil doers …. Zzzzzzzzz.
  8. We went out to dinner with a good friend who is positive, upbeat, smart, successful and agrees with me that my alma mater (UNC-CH) even with EB and Chancellor Doogie is racing headlong to self-induced irrelevance within a decade ….  But that’s a story for another day.
  9. The aforementioned good friend told me about Pandora …. A very cool “design your own computer radio station” website.  It is wonderful.  Google Pandora Radio and let music soothe your political constipation.

Great civilizations are built on a foundation of inspiration and individual initiative.  Great civilizations crumble when ignorance and immorality become the order of the day.  Go rent a copy of The Man Who Would Be King ….  You will understand when you see the movie.  Reading the 2nd and 3rd books in the Left Behind series might help too.


Tonight Missus and I will enjoy a glass of Two Buck Chuck under the new ceiling on our screened-in porch overlooking “the wooded glade” and Kid’s Treehouse.  A ceiling installed by Josh The Happy Carpenter.  Maybe I will sit in the middle of my newly organized and cleaned out office and my de-junked closet and e-chat with some of you ….. a “good life” that I have spent a lifetime fashioning thru assorted turmoils and triumphs.  One that I intend to fully appreciate and enjoy.  The only addition I can imagine is hearing that you are equally committed to such a personal course come what may . ….. Family & Friends ….. Family & Friends …….


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