I am not a handy person. I am not a do it yourself kind of guy. I am quite content with paying someone who knows what they are doing to do the job I need done. In the context of Hank Williams Jr.'s a Country Boys Can Survive, I won't.

Still I am required by my spouse and family to occasionally perform mundane tasks around my home. Chances are if that task involves using a screwdriver or a wrench I can fake it until I make work. However, there is one tool that is never in my box when it's supposed to be there. It's the most confounding tool ever invented and if I could figure out who the actual inventor of this tool of the devil was I'd write a mean letter to his or her family.

The tool in question is the Allen wrench or hex key. You've seen them they come with cheap furniture, home exercise equipment, and any other project that requires a fair amount of sweat and cursing to build. These tiny six sided wrenches are supposed to be more ergonomic and easy to use. They are supposed to decrease the wear and tear on the screw head. They are supposed to be cheap to manufacture and easy to use. I can't confirm any of these details because I can never find the damn tool whenever I need it.

Allen Wrenches or hex keys are like the baking powder of tools. Most of us have baking powder in our homes, we use it once a year for something then the rest of the year can't remember where we put it. The same can be said for the Allen wrench. Through the course of many years of projects I have assembled quite a collection of them. The one I need to fit the screw in question can never be found. I even purchased a set of Allen wrenches so I would never have the problem of the wrong size. I have lost the entire set.

I know I should not hold Mr. Allen or his predecessors responsible for my inability to maintain control of my tools. These tiny wrenches are made for getting lost. So maybe that is how the Allen wrench people stay in business. They just keep manufacturing the darn things because morons like me keep losing them. I guess in hindsight I should simply say, well played Mr. Allen, well played.

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