Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Asshole Tracks

I've been drilling out rivets on my Spartan and I keep running the drill into this drip rail when the rivets break through. It makes these tell-tale marks that announce that I'm not very good at this.

When you miss with a hammer and make dents in the wood all around a nail the experienced carpenters call those asshole tracks. At least this is my recollection of being ridiculed by my friend Taylor when I was helping him sheath a roof. "What happened over here? Look at all these asshole tracks!" I remember that day vividly. It was the day I realized I was a good golfer. I had a friend who was a scratch golfer who traded me a bag of clubs for a 20 gallon aquarium. Then he took me to play a round. He showed me how to swing a club and we played golf. I hit the ball two times for every one time he hit it. But when I was hammering nails I hit four times for every one time Taylor hit. He'd drive a nail home in two blows and I was hammering away like an over-caffeinated woodpecker. Clearly I am twice as good at golf as carpentry. Unfortunately at the end of a day of golf you haven't got something you can live in so I never bothered to nurture that aptitude. I gave away my golf clubs and bought an air compressor and three kinds of nail guns.

That day on the roof was over 10 years ago. I wasn't sure I was remembering asshole tracks right so I tried to look it up. The internet is pretty thin on slang from people that use heavy machinery instead of computers. I couldn't find any occurrence of "asshole tracks" used in this way. So I thought I better take care of that internet oversight. If anybody else has heard this please say so in the comments. Or if there's another word for it, let me know. Fine Homebuilding keeps their site so clean nobody is allowed to say "asshole" on there. I didn't find anything even searching their forums.

Is there another word for it when you make asshole tracks in metal? I think I can polish those out with a scotchbrite pad so I'm not that worried about it.


  1. 'Asshole tracks' sounds good enough although I've never heard the phrase.

    In the past I've been a half-decent roofer, semi-skilled joiner and pretty good labourer.

    For the past 10 years I've been a career professional.

    Over those ten years, I've spent a lot of spare-time returning to building sites to do roofing, lifting and whatever else helps to put cash in the pocket. Roofing is one of the best jobs going when the sun's shining and you're up on high.

    'Asshole tracks' is kinder than the subtle facial expression that acknowledges a clumsy bastard. It takes me a while to 'warm up' and get my hammer arm accurate; same for the 'roof legs.' I'm as good as anyone after that, but the interim of knowing looks is always a killer.

  2. My lack of talent and skill is why I prefer to work alone. And why I only work on my own projects instead of trying to do this for money. I'm not good value.

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