One should LISTEN when the gem and rock shop (that’s literally ROCKS – stones, fossils, gems) man (I call him the “rock man”) tells you to always use water when drilling stone with a diamond bit. Though I am Kate the Safety Dog I could not figure out how to use water while simultaneously using a tool THAT PLUGS INTO AN ELECTRICAL OUTLET (I suppose I’ve read too many of those safety warnings that accompany hair dryers and radios that tell you not to take appliances with you into a tub full of water) so I just blithely drilled away. I WAS wearing eye protection (and feeling silly about it – even though I am Kate the Safety Dog), and it turned out to be very providential.

You see, if you DO NOT use water while drilling stone with the diamond drill bit, the stone and the bit shaft will reach incredible temperatures. Suddenly, the stone will shatter into two pieces with the diamond portion of the bit stuck into it (melded, perhaps, by the extraordinary heat?). The broken piece, inconveniently released from the vise, will shoot into the air, hit your protective eye gear (See? I could have put an eye out), land in your lap, burning you through the towel sitting there AND your silk pajama bottoms, and then it will disappear completely (perhaps transported by intense temperature to an alternate dimension). This makes one squeal and is dangerous.

Today, when I went to replace the diamond drill bit, I deigned to ask another “rock man” HOW to use water while using an electrical tool. He told me to spit on the bit (which rhymes – how fun). He also explained several methods by which water could safely be delivered to a stone you are drilling so that white-hot pieces of Tiger’s Eye don’t burn your extremities. We then had a very interesting discussion during which I observed that, though I wouldn’t have thought of using saliva as a drilling lubricant, it may even be superior to water because it is more viscous (take THAT those of you who think I’m excessively germ phobic). I now have figured out a whole system, which I shan’t explain here, because sometimes I get these ideas which I think are very clever (like long ago when I installed a stereo in our old Datsun and I built the speakers into tupperware containers with somewhat long speaker wires so you could set them wherever you wanted). Every man I ever told about that thought it was completely HILARIOUS. Bloody chauvinists. I maintain that it was extremely versatile and functional AND a most creative use of kitchen storage containers, indeed.

So, basically, please take care, One and All! Watch out for those winter road hazards, keep warm (and remember that a large percentage of your body heat escapes through your head, especially if your noggin is sizable), wash your hands regularly and thoroughly (this is the very FIRST rule in Healthcare Universal Precautions), get your PSA checked every year (if you are a man over forty, that is), be nice to everyone (I’m being sincere – Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”), and, whatever you do, SPIT on your BIT.