"Gendry was only spared because smiths, even apprentice smiths, were too valuable to kill."
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
I have a list of things I'd like to do on my birthdays. Every year, I go through each item on the list one by one. I think about the pros and cons until I find the experience I liked best. This year, I went through the list like this:
- Make movie
"Meh, sounds like a lot of work. And I don't know a lot of actors."
- Learn cooking
"It'd be nice to see what I have in the kitchen and improvise something great. Oh, wait. I have children. Children hate food with flavor."
- Get Tattoo
"Pretty sure the Tattoo is dead."
- Forge sword
"I've always wanted to make a sword. I mean, I have a shield. It doesn't mean anything without a cool sword you made yourself. Plus, there's the badass factor."
|See, I'm not making this up.|
I've never made it to full badass-level.
I know how to fence and shoot a gun. I've trained in Muay Thai, Tae Kwan Do, Boxing, Judo, and Hapkido. I've gone on quests to battle monsters and protect fair maidens. I've jumped off a plane. I've had my hair bleached without succumbing to the pain.
|The beginning of Dune where the main character gets blonde highlights.|
But I was still not a badass. It was decided.
I would find a master who would teach me the art of swordcrafting. Then, like Sokka in Avatar: the Last Airbender, I would go from being the quirky, comic relief to a dashing hero with a rapier (wit).
The first step was to find a master.
When I was in San Jose a year ago, I heard about a place where you could learn blacksmithing called The Crucible. I went online and reserved a spot in the Blacksmithing I class. I would study several hours a day for a week, then I would take Blacksmithing II, and then I would take Bladesmithing.
Then I would be a Real Man.
The day before the class, I looked up the address of the school. Then I rubbed my eyes and looked it up again. Then I checked a few websites and looked it up again.
Then I had a panic attack.
I'd made a small error. The Crucible wasn't in San Jose; it was in Oakland. It wouldn't take me 20 minutes to get to class each day.
It would take me nearly three hours.
Next week: my ingenious solution to the problem of having to pick up and drop off kids from school while doing nearly six hours of driving a day and having three hours of class.