Out of the Woodwork: My New Apprentice


It’s hard to teach a new dog the old dog’s tricks.
By Jeff Skiver
Page: 88

From the April 2008 issue #168
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My woodshop is a frustrating place to be at the moment. I am breaking in a new apprentice, and he and I are having issues. We are not communicating well. He gives me looks that seem to question my authority, my intellect and my woodworking skill. When I opened the shop to a new apprentice, there were specific things I was looking for, and Peyton seemed to be the ideal candidate. Now, I just can’t help but wonder if Peyton is going to be the apprentice I need.

Looking back, it seems my former apprentice, Simon, was a top-notch performer. When there was work to do, he was always in the shop, and I do not recall Simon ever disagreeing with me. Had we ever encountered a disagreement I had a foolproof plan: RPS (Rock-Paper-Scissors). Since ancient times, man has cast lots to help in decision making, but I always knew if Simon and I disagreed, we would just do RPS to decide who was right. Then, once the RPS began, I would just keep throwing out “paper” and wait for Simon to put out “the rock.” I was sure of victory, because it was impossible for Simon to ever play “scissors.” See, Simon was a yellow Labrador retriever. You heard it here first, people … if you ever need to settle a dispute with a dog, just play Rock-Paper-Scissors and keep going with “paper.” Let me add, though, that I never had to resort to that method with Simon; we never disagreed.


From the April 2008 issue #168
Buy this issue now