Thursday, June 1, 2017

47th Birthday, Part 4 - Sweat

I shatter Swords and splinter spears;
None stands to Shieldbreaker.
My point's the fount of orphans' tears,
My edge the widowmaker.
The First Book of Swords by Fred Saberhagen

Recap: I took a blacksmithing class.  After getting there waaaay too early and wandering through a dangerous neighborhood looking for Pokemon, I was ready to begin.

There's one thing they don't tell you about blacksmithing when you get started: you sweat a lot.  Yeah, yeah, I know you're thinking you understand sweat.  You've run marathons. You've spent a week in Death Valley.  You taught your kid how to drive a car.

The face of Hell.
This is a blacksmithing furnace.  It burns at several thousand degrees.  You can only open it this far before the heat sets fire to your face.  No, that's not a joke.

Crucible's blacksmithing classroom has three of them going.  Sure, there's a fan, but it doesn't do much when you spend several hours right next to one of the furnaces.
Lord Vulcan, patron god of freaking heavy tools.
This is a rack of blacksmithing tools. Notice most of them are enormous fucking hammers.

I feel a strong urge to drop this on Wile E. Coyote.
Blacksmithing involves a great deal of whacking the hell out of things that don't like being whacked.  So, by the end of class, the teacher will come over to you and say things like "Put your whole body into it!" or "You need to hit it really hard!" or "Get up off the ground!  You still have two unbroken fingers."

So, you wear protective gear:

  • To protect your eyes from the flying bits of burning metal, you wear eye shields.
  • To protect your hand from the heat from the furnace, you wear a glove.  (Just one glove; it's for your tongs hand so you can shake it off when your skin starts to burn.)
  • To protect your feet from burning metal turning your nylon shoes into flaming plastic death traps, you wear these pieces of heavy cloth like spats.
  • To keep the sweat out of your eyes, you wear a fluorescent headband.
  • To keep your undies from turning into a wading pool, you stick a washcloth between your buttcheeks.

Let me reiterate: In blacksmithing, you stand next to several blisteringly hot furnaces, while exercising until your muscles fail, while blanketed in extra clothing.  After three hours, you look like Samwise Gamgee at the end of The Return of the King.

So, yeah, you don't know from sweaty.

One day a photographer came in and took pictures of everyone in the class but me.  I can't imagine why.  I look dead sexy.
Perhaps it was the smell of my buttcheek towel around my neck.

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