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The Woodwork Ethic
by Cedric Botfrob

The lathe looked on hungrily as the Woodwork lesson progressed.

“Huskinson, is it?” said Mr Limited. The boy nodded. “Perhaps you’d care to demonstrate how we join two pieces of wood together."

Huskinson hated woodwork. There were too many weapons. And if the tools weren’t picking on you, the teacher usually was. Resigned to his fate, he picked up the hammer.

“No, no, no!” called Mr Limited. “How many times do I have to tell you? Each year, there are thousands of accidents caused by amateur weekend DIYers. Stay safe: always call the professionals.”

Huskinson took out his mobile and rang for a joiner.

“Much better,” said Mr Limited.

“He says he’ll be here next week,” said Huskinson.

“Excellent work,” said the teacher. “We’ll have to make sure we’re in.”


Huskinson watched as the joiner nailed the two pieces of wood together, in accordance with Health and Safety law and industry standards. Mr Limited even gave him a gold star for making him a cup of tea.

“Thirty quid, mate,” said the joiner when he’d finished. Then he looked around conspiratorially. “Tell you what - call it twenty for cash.”

Huskinson paid up. Other schools had a woodwork budget to pay the professionals with, but Saint Street Comprehensive felt that woodwork lessons were designed to create self-reliance in pupils.

“Good work,” said Mr Limited, impressed with how his students were coming on. “Next week we’ll learn how to fix guttering." He had an idea.  "I know!  I've got some at home that needs fixing!  We'll get Huskinson to practise on that!"

“Sir,” said Huskinson. Blood was dripping from his head.

“Oh, Huskinson,” said Mr Limited. “I thought I told you not to touch the hammer?”

“I didn’t sir.”

“Then how did you manage to nail your hand to your head?”

“I sneezed.”

Huskinson was led to the school ambulance, while the school solicitor touted for business, and the solicitor’s own solicitor threatened legal action for the mental distress of witnessing the accident. Meanwhile, back in the workshop, the lathe licked its lips. Its time would come.