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When Every Problem Is A Nail

April 4, 2017

. . .but you don’t have a hammer

We’ve all heard the phrase, “When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” But, what about those problems that really are a nail? It’s okay to hit those, right?

Someone took my hammer this week. There’s a software tool I use daily. In fact, multiple times per day to service my client’s accounts. Yesterday I opened it and . . .it was a different tool. Well, it was the same tool, just with different, and less functionality.

I sat and stared at the screen. I closed and reopened the program. Maybe if I try it again, it will work?


I stared some more.

Ever tried to pound in a nail with something other than a hammer? It’s an exercise in frustration. Maybe you’ve used a rock. It’s hard to not hit your fingers. A shoe? Not strong enough. In fact, hammers are pretty specialized tools. They do pretty much one thing. (Well, other than pulling nails, but let’s go with a big mallet for this metaphor.)

My hammer was missing. I tried to think of when the last time I’d seen it was. I’d used it on Friday and it worked just fine. Obviously, someone took my hammer over the weekend.

My nails were still lined up waiting for me to pound them, but I didn’t have a rock. I had to go look for the hammer. The problem was that the hammer was a gift. I hadn’t been required to go buy it. I wasn’t even sure where to buy those type of hammers.

Fortunately, I was able to ask a couple of people and eventually find the guy who hands out hammers. I explained my issue and he set me up with a hammer again.

Don’t use a hammer on every problem, but if your problem is a nail, a hammer comes in pretty handy.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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  1. Patricia Nelson permalink

    Yup!!!! Made me laugh. Probably somewhat the same way your spouse feels when she goes to the drawer to find her kitchen scissors are missing!

    • That’s the kids taking those. But, I do occasionally stumble across my automotive tools scattered around the house. No worries, right? It’s only a few thousand dollars worth of stuff-they-didn’t-pay-for. LOL

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