E. O. Schaub
I’m pretty depressed. I mean, I am a good, irony-appreciating, iPhone-packing, Lost-watching citizen of the twenty-first century. I knew liberalism and/or conservatism was dead. I knew the thong was dead. Except in New Jersey. I had heard God was dead; ditto atheism. Also: figurative painting, campaign finance reform and Tab. Also: content, privacy and— apparently— Jewish Hip Hop.
What I wasn’t expecting was the assessment last week, by the National Council for the Preservation of High Temperature Metal Joining Technologies (NCPHTMJT), that, in fact, welding is dead. (!!!!) I know, right?
I mean, it was one thing when photography died. Sure, that was sad. And when the death of newspapers and magazines followed so quickly thereafter, we were all still a bit stunned. When book-publishing was declared dead last year, we all observed a moment of silence at the gym, during which everyone pretended to turn off their iPods. The subsequent news that clothing was dead certainly caught everyone by surprise, only to be followed by the news that cheese was dead, as well as goat herding, geometry, Cirque de Soleil, and— strangely— toothpicks. But this…? This really was too much.
I mean, I had always meant to take up welding more seriously, and now… well, now it was just too late. Sure, after a tiring day at the Twitter Factory I’d come home, pour myself a nice glass of chablis, and dabble in some underwater shielded metal arc welding… but it never amounted to much. Not more than a hobby. I guess I just always thought there would be time for all that, down the road.
But the fact is— and we all knew this on some level— there’s just no money in welding anymore. For one thing, there’s so much free welding out there now, no one feels they should have to pay for it. I mean, everyone’s a welder now, right? Who among us doesn’t own an acetylene torch just for fun? For casual spot welding at family picnics and so forth? And then the realization comes that, if everyone is a welder than, by the inverse appropriative law of suckiness, no one is. And suddenly, just like that, all the best anode and slag suppliers go belly-up and poof! It’s over. Welding, as we knew it, is as dead as the apostrophe.
So friends, heed my cautionary tale. Pretty soon, we’ll all just be sitting around reminiscing about all the things people used to do before they became valueless. In the meantime, I’m going to pursue my new hobby while still I can: neurosurgery.