Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Original Multi-Tool

Before Gerber, before Leatherman, before even Swiss Army, there was Belt. Sure it holds your pants up. However, in a pinch, a belt can also do other useful things.

Today, I helped my friends Erik and Kristi Chase move out of their apartment and into their new house. The usual suspects were all present during the day: boxes, furniture, electronics, free food, U-Haul, and even a bit of back pain. But there was one element of Moving Day I'd never before encountered: their queen size bed in a room with no reasonable exit.

We tried going down the stairs; the mattress made the u-turn landing. But it's flexible and doesn't remove sheet rock. The box springs got wedged at the bottom between stairs, ceiling, and wall. It occurred to me to ask how the bed had been moved in in the first place. Through the sliding glass door upstairs that used to lead to a balcony. We then had three distinct problems: (1) unwedge the springs and get them back upstairs; (2) move them through a space made smaller by the removal of the balcony and the addition of a wrought iron railing; and (3) lower them safely to the ground with only two people and no rope, harming neither the springs nor any passersby below.

Solution 1: Correct application of brute strength. Lots of grunting.

Solution 2: Phone call to the apartment complex's maintenance group to either remove the railing or the solid half of the sliding door. They shimmied the door out of place.

Solution 3: Enter the Belt. Yes. We looped my belt through the steel wires and buckled it in place. We balanced the box on the railing and I ran downstairs to do what tall people do best: catch. Erik held on to my belt and lowered the box springs slowly and safely to my waiting arms below.


Belts have been around for centuries. I wonder what else they've been used for. They are indeed the original multi-tool. Personally, I think every man should own (and use) one, especially plumbers.

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