Multi-bit Screwdriver (Tarot of Michelle)

It’s hard to go wrong with an impulse purchase of a useful item.

Illustration by the author

The story of Multi-bit Screwdriver begins at a large, well-stocked Ace Hardware store in Tucson, Arizona. I really liked this particular hardware store as it was huge and had hardware, garden tools and accessories, kitchen items, some home decor and other nifty stuff. 

I had my doubts when I saw the store’s name printed on the handle. Typically, promotional items aren’t especially durable. It wasn’t an exceptional or unique design. Yet I had one of those odd sensory moments when I picked up one of the screwdrivers out of the display: it just felt right. Was it the heft? The balance? How it fit in my hand? I don’t know. I had a hunch I’d find this screwdriver useful, so I bought two: a blue one for the house and a yellow one for the car.

The multi-bit screwdrivers turned out to be a great purchase. The assortment of bits was useful and served most of my purposes. The handle was the right size and shape for my hand. There was a reverse, forward and stop ratcheting feature, which is often one of the first things to go, but the mechanism never failed. The bit selection cap clicked firmly from position to position, releasing only the bit I really wanted instead of dumping them all on the floor. I chipped a couple of bits, but there were plenty more to choose from.

In fact, I liked the screwdriver so much I started giving them as gifts. (I do the same thing with flashlights, carrying on one of my grandmother’s traditions.) I don’t know why others didn’t find the screwdriver as exciting as I did; at least one of my presents ended up back in my own toolbox. (I was secretly happy to have another, but resolved to do differently on the gift-giving front.) A good gift reflects on the giver, the recipient and their relationship, but this screwdriver was apparently all about me!

An early draft of the screwdriver card. Illustration by the author.

It seems kind of silly that I’ve gotten so much out of what’s really an unexceptional tool. It remains one of my very favorites and I use it several times a week. Aside from the actual physical utility, I’ve gotten some good lessons out of it.

  • The occasional impulse purchase is okay!
  • It’s hard to go wrong with an impulse purchase of a useful item.
  • Sometimes our bodies know things that our minds don’t. My hands seemed to know the multi-bit screwdriver was just right.
  • Don’t judge a book by its cover.
  • Give things and people a chance to prove their worth.
  • If a tool works for you and fits you, then you need not be ashamed of it. 
  • What works is good, as a dear friend used to say all the time. 
  • Value goes far beyond cost.
  • What seems made for me, may not be right for someone else. Don’t assume.
  • Choose the recipient first and the gift second, not vice versa.
  • “Attachment” may not always be a “disorder.”

If my multi-bit screwdriver ever fails, I’ll be unreasonably sad. I’m way too attached to this simple object that attaches other things. But I’ll thank it for its service and put any leftover bits in the drill drawer in my shop. And then I’ll be grateful that I have another, after all.

A story behind one of the cards in The Tarot of Michelle. Follow the developmental art as a Patron on Patreon.

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