It’s all in the Name

by Steve on December 4, 2006

Some of you may have wondered about the origins of the title “The Wood Shed.” The old Gamblers of VS-28 from USS Forrestal’s last deployment know of one special meaning, some of them more intimately than others.


Look at the top of the door in the left of the image. The poor souls awaiting their call to enter were the Maintenance Master Chief and the Maintenance Officer (names withheld to protect the guilty). Most of you have no doubt heard the old expression “taken to the wood shed” in reference to corporal punishment dealt out within small rural buildings of the same name with an endless supply of boards to apply to the backside. The CO of the Gamblers usually adhered to the guideline of “praise in public, reprimand in private” but with privacy all but impossible on a ship, he used the small Operations Office in the back of the Ready Room for his “private” sessions. Hence the midnight stencil applied to the door. The only difference between public and private was that very thin door which proved entirely ineffective at muffling the sound from within. You never knew what might come out of that space.

Another appropriate use of the title stems from my own “wood shed.” My wife insists on calling it the garage but this time of year, with Santa’s little helpers in full swing, there’s always a heavy coating of sawdust on everything including her car. Every piece of woodworking equipment deemed essential for a small shop is tucked into my side of the garage and I spend a lot of my limited free time making little boards out of big ones. The seasonal demand for several things I’ve become a little too talented at producing increases dramatically as Christmas approaches. This draw on my time plus the fact that I’ve returned to gainful full-time employment explains why you haven’t seen the usual volume of posts that you’ve become accustomed to seeing. Several friends and family members are relieved that I’m back on a payroll (actually it’s 100% commission but most don’t understand that either) since taking a year “off” to write a book is generally not a get-paid-as-you-go proposition for a first-time author. Writing, after all, is not work, or so I’ve been told. My tired brain and fingers disagree – I’ve never tackled anything more difficult. Writing on my own time as the inspiration hit me was much more fun than facing off with the computer on a daily basis with an actual production goal to hit.

“The Wood Shed” seemed appropriate for many reasons and the subtitle even more so: “You never know what you’re going to find in the pile.” Just brace yourself and open the door when you’re ready. And if the material isn’t coming fast enough to satisfy you these days, go check out some of the links – there are some good writers out there, far better than I. When the sawdust settles down next month, I’ll be back on a more frequent basis.

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