If you want a job done well, don’t do it yourself.
By Roger Crombie
Have you ever tried to hang a picture on a wall? Not just any old how, but in a tasteful and precise manner that displays the image to its best advantage?
Of course you have. Everyone has. It’s easy. Measure up, bang in a hook, hang the picture, get on with your life. That’s all it takes.
Or so I thought.
I had moved to a quaint rural residence (i.e. a shack) 300 yards from Kindley Field Airport, as Bermuda Airport was then called. To mitigate the squalor, I selected seven family heirloom pictures and set about hanging them on the wall. How hard can it be, I recall asking myself.
First, I painted the little areas of wall that required touching up. Three coats; two days. Then I mapped out where all the pictures would go, and measured the width of one particular wall several times: 73 inches. Half that distance would be 36.5 inches. Measured that several times and drew a pencil line on the wall under where the first picture would go.
Discovering that I had no picture hooks, I abandoned the project for a day or two until I was able to buy some. Went to the hardware store, got them home, banged one in, and hung my first picture. Ta da.
Discovered I had missed 36.5 inches by a good four inches. Don’t know how that happened, but happen it did. On top of that, the wire stretched across the back of the picture had weakened over the previous 50 years. The hook stood proud, as we interior designers say, about two inches above the picture frame, an effect I did not want.
Part of the problem is the design of the picture hook, which is obviously the work of morons. But there we are. No sensible picture hooks are manufactured, apparently.
I tabled the exercise for a further couple of days until I was able to revisit Gorham’s to buy some picture wire. Got home, rewired the frame, hung it (albeit several inches off halfway across the wall, but one thing at a time), and discovered that even the new wire could not hold the image well enough to hide the hook.
Made new holes for the hooks, lower down the frame, and rewired them, only to learn that they were so far down the frame that the top fell over the bottom and the whole thing turned back to front. Again, not what I was looking for.
It took two further days to paint over the marks on the wall left by my pathetic efforts. I then decided to throw all the pictures under the first passing bus, torch the hardware store and kill everyone I met, for days if necessary, until the police shot me to what would have been a very welcome death.
Later, a professional took 25 minutes to hang all seven pictures.
The moral of this story: If you want a job done well, don’t do it yourself.