This time it was an old Eastwing, wonderfully balanced and intimately known to the calloused hand that had put it down just moments before. One houndred thousand nails and more it had driven, swung by that hand over the years. Many other hammers had been used at times, but always the old Eastwing was sought out, preferred above all others. No, there had been no vow of, "I'll keep you you only as long as we both shall live." There was no betrayal, no subtle or blatant shame heaped upon it. And the hammer itself had never expressed dissatisfaction with its lot. Nor had it every before used its claws to tear living flesh. That is not to say it had made any promise to abstain from flesh and blood. The right hand that gripped and swung so confidently, took guidance from eyes that sometimes gave less than perfect service. The thumb and fingers of the left hand often throbbed and sometimes bled. They shared the pain, taking seriously the biblical mandate that when one part suffers, the whole body suffers with it. Strange that a hammer striking the thumb can drive an ache all the way to the toenails. Strange too, and perhaps fortunate, that words that might escape at such moments are usually cut off by a quick sucking of breath through the teeth.
Did you know that claw-hammers actually have claws? And did you know that owning three hard-hats does not prevent blood-loss when all three sit on shelves and hammers fall from the sky?