Everything I have ever read, seen, listened or heard in my life has been useful to me. I have never underestimated anything around me, no matter how insignificant it might seem. I assure you that, for me, as useful and valid has been the proverb said by my building doorman than a contemporary philosopher’s profound and meditated remark.
Yesterday, after many years without knowing what other thing, apart from a pound of nails, Clodomiro had to buy at the hardware store, I FOUND OUT AT LAST! A FUCKING CHISEL! That’s what the pharmacist told him to buy.
Since the 1970s, when I first listened to this song by Carlos Mejía Godoy, I have been pondering on Clodomiro’s errand. My restless, curious mind, always on the alert, always making the most of everything like an old-time housewife, kept this doubt carefully in one of its most remote pigeonholes.
I am reading (and enjoying because it’s so entertaining!) the trilogy on the Roman emperor Trajan written by Santiago Posteguillo. In one of the paragraph I read (in Spanish) the word “formón” (chisel). I knew that a chisel is a kind of tool used by carpenters but I could not picture it very well, so I googled the word, read the definition and saw the image. I learnt that “escoplo” is a kind of “formón”, that is to say, there are various types of chisels (“formón”) and one of them is called “escoplo” in Spanish. I felt some sort of an electrical shock in my head when I read that word: “formón”, and started singing automatically that old song whose chorus goes:
Clodomiro, Clodomiro ¿Para dónde vas tan serio? Voy a ver un partidito allá por el cementerio.
Y en asunto de mujeres, ¿cómo te trata la vida? Me defiendo, me defiendo como gato panza arriba.
Clodomiro, Clodomiro, Where are you going so serious? I’m watching a match at the cemetery.
And in women’s issues, How’s life treating you? I defend myself, defend myself, like a scalded cat
And I suddenly realized what the toothless pharmacist had told Clodomiro to buy, in addition to a pound of nails. A CHISEL!!!! (formón). Although dictionaries list both words as synonymous, there are some differences between “escoplo” and “formón”.
Encouraged by this wonderful discovery I decided to look more deeply into the matter. A do-it-yourself website satisfied my curiosity: chisels are used to cut and shape wood and there are three main types: firmer chisels (for general-purpose work), bevel-edge chisels (used in corners) and mortice chisels (thicker than the other two). There are also cold chisels (used to remove metal).
I had to stop my research on these tools, because my anxious mind was already wondering what a Japanese firmer chisel would be. That’s me. I used to do the same thing when I was a young girl. The only difference is that I carried out my research on many different topics in an encyclopaedia and now I search Google for information. I am insatiable. Everything interests me. I am an entity who listens and watches, treasuring in my head every word, every image, every sound, every gesture that the whole world offers, rejecting nothing at all. So, one day, in the most unexpected manner, my brain shouts EUREKA!, makes a new synaptic connection, and I learn something I didn’t know.