Knob Job


A few years back, a movie came out called “There Will be Blood.”  Although it wasn’t really anything to write home about, I sincerely appreciated the confidence of the title.  Very few movie titles are statements.  Gaurantees.  It shows confidence, and people like that.  “There Will be Blood.”  A title like that inspires people.  Gets butts in the seats.  Imagine what a flop the movie would’ve been if it was called “There Might be Blood” or “There Could Possibly be Blood.”  No one would go to see that.  “There’s a 60/40 Chance of Blood” doesn’t draw me to the theatre.  Not even the Red Box.  Having a title that like is like having a door with no knob – it isn’t exactly inviting.

Speaking of doorknobs, my life could be titled “There Might be Blood” because I keep my doorknob in my jacket pocket and am often tempted to use it as a bludgeoning tool.  It would be perfect for that job.  My doorknob is long and slender – not one of those round ones with a lock on the end like a big nipple.  Oh no.  Mine is really a handle, a knob of the crank variety.  It’s metal and has a fat knot on the end where it broke off the door.  There have been several nights when I’ve taken my door handle out of my pocket and pretended to hit people with it.  At tense moments I slip my hand into my pocket to know that it’s there.  They day will come – it seems inevitable – when I will have to use my weapon to beat someone over the head the way Daniel Day Lewis beat that kid with a bowling pin at the end of the movie.

Not that I want to.  Preferably, my door handle would still be on my door.  It broke off one night about two months ago.  Since I live in South Korea and can’t speak Korean, a lot of time went by before I addressed the issue.  When I finally had a Korean friend call my landlord, the landlord asked why it took so long for me to contact him.  “Say it’s cause I can’t speak Korean,” I said, in English.  Although this is true and seemingly a very valid excuse, the landlord was not impressed.  I was told that I’d have to pay for the broken door handle to be re-attached.  This is not an arrangement I could agree to, and so I’m stuck carrying it around in my pocket.  

It isn’t my fault the door handle broke off.  I’m not Lou Ferrigno or anything, not even Bill Bixby.  There is no way that my muscles are the cause of this mishap.  I have no muscles.  To blame them would be like Peyton Manning saying he performed badly because he was on his period.  The irony of the situation, of course, is that the presence of the bludgeoning tool in my pocket in effect makes me feel stronger when I step out of the house each night.  It’s as though I had one moment of super-strength, sort of like King Arthur pulling Excalibur from the rock, and now I’ve got my own sword to wield, if only the opportunity comes about…I mean, if God forbid something happens and I have no choice!     

Apartments are not like movies.  They’re supposed offer guarantees.  Your toilet will flush.  There will be air conditioning.  You will have a handle or knob on your door.  Apartments should be able to make statements like that.  They, unlike the movies, are real.  But as I walk through the streets of South Korea, I remind myself that none of this seems real anyways.  This place, with its empty streets lit by neon, is about as strange as movies that guarantee and apartments that don’t even try.  Or maybe as strange as a doorknob that fits in your pocket, but not on your door.



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