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jennifer loviglio
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Happy Sawzall-idays

I felt it long before I ever saw it. Every day the house shook with a deep rumbling that made my ribs thud in my chest as workers tore off the back wall and roof for a kitchen bump-out. What was that monstrous tool they were using? The groaning of wood and unearthly crunching of metal sounded as if a mechanical carnivore was attacking the house.

When I finally saw the beast, lying quietly on the contractor's toolbox, I was underwhelmed. The handheld reciprocating saw, called a Sawzall, was only slightly larger than my cordless drill and had a little finger-sized blade. Hey, I can handle this thing. And I knew of its hidden power. Dainty and destructive. What more could a girl want?

With a worker egging me on, I picked it up with my right hand and put my finger on the trigger. I gripped the shaft with my left. Aiming for an old laminate counter I'm replacing, I pressed the button and that nasty little blade got right to work, jerking back and forth like nobody's business. My arms shook. My ears rang. Bits of wood flew in all directions.

It ripped through the counter and kept going. If I hadn't jumped back that crazy weasel would have chewed into my leg. It could probably cut through my thigh in seconds. Who needs lipo? Better still, I'll bet it could chop up a corpse in the time it takes to fix dinner.

The Sawzall is the perfect antidote to suburban midlife crisis. In the span of an afternoon, you can destroy everything you've worked for. Some people bury themselves in debt to buy boats or fancy cars. Others bury their faces in the necks of someone else's husband. When the time comes --- and I'm not saying it isn't here --- my midlife implosion of choice will involve burying the Sawzall blade into my stuff.

I'm not quite ready to tear down a house that I am only now getting around to improving and there's never a corpse around when you need one. So my new Sawzall will have to wait until Thanksgiving dinner for its debut. Just the thing to add excitement to my family's boring, at-table turkey-carving ritual.

Imagine. The glistening bird. The family and friends. The mild, but politely expressed surprise at my unorthodox choice of knife. Then, instead of slices of moist white meat --- which take forever to carefully place on the platter --- ragged chunks of hot turkey fly out from under the blade and land right on the guests' plates. And in their hair. And on the curtains.

Anyone with a Sawzall will confirm that once you've used one, there's no turning back. For Christmas, I can cut down one of the decorative firs growing out front. If it's too big for the living room, no biggie. I'll Sawzall the piano in half. No one will even notice because half the keys don't work anyway.

Until I'm ready to totally Sid-and-Nancy my life, I wish I could find an online support community. But there's nothing. No Sawzall cult website, no Sawzall-centered blogs.

The Sawzall does appear in an online Christmas video, however. That is, I think it's a Christmas video. Under a glowing cross, a woman in black fishnets and a torn party dress uses festive red ribbon to bind and gag a bald, naked mannequin. Then she slaps it and cuts off its face with a Sawzall. I hadn't thought of that.