Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

The (secretly famous) “Sorting Out the Screws Affair”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob at 5:35 pm on Monday, June 20, 2022

By Robert M. Katzman © June 20, 2022

So, the only significant argument 

I have ever had with

My steadfast construction assistant 

The beauteous Nancy

Was over the secretly famous (?)

“Sorting Out the Screws Affair”


After asking Nancy to help me 

Do this impossible thing 

With thousands of screws 

Conflict ensued when

Miss Nancy defiantly informed me that, 

“You sort screws YOUR way, 

And I’ll sort screws MY way!!”


Leaving me very confused 

Because during all these 

Decades of screw-sorting 

I naively assumed there was 

Only one way to do that

I decided it was NOT worth

 Losing the new woman in my life


So, I accepted her 

(incredibly slower) 

Method of screw-sorting

As we sat in my sun-bathed kitchen

Listening to excellent Rock ‘n Roll

From when we were both very young


Each of us in our own particular way

Sorting seemingly infinite numbers

Of indifferent black screws

Into six quietly receptive plastic boxes

She was magnanimous in victory

Noblesse oblige

Came naturally to her


Since that tense afternoon

Thousands of those screws 

Have been efficiently employed 

By me in my work

Creating a fairy tale atmosphere

For us to grow old within

Surrounded by birds and flowers

Of every hue in the Rainbow


Part of Life, I guess

 Is learning when to shut up 

and just accept the situation

With humor and good will

Even when it seems

What is so clear to me

May be incomprehensible 

To another person


Almost exactly two years later, we were married in Racine, Wisconsin. So I think my June 2020 decision was the right one.

We continue to help each other with our projects, like my collection of 80+ birdhouse acquired at endless garage sales.

If I ever run for office, I’ll have the Sparrow vote.

A couple of days ago, I was standing near the top of a ten-foot ladder attempting to straighten out a slender 25-foot tall tree growing crookedly.

I anchored it to a massive old pine tree trunk 20 feet away with waterproof wire and pulled and pulled, but the wind was blowing the tree the other way. No luck.

So, I waited. The next day, the wind changed, blowing toward the pine tree and I resumed the same position and pulled the damn tree exactly straight up. Ha!

See what happens when a person goes with the flow?

Kinda like my poem. Maybe.

At least Nancy was impressed. That was something.

(In case someone, anyone, is really wondering, this was my method of sorting those thousands of black screws:

I treated the great mixed collection of screws as a mass and found it most efficient to spread a flat group of hundreds of them in front of me on a table, then focus only on one size of screw and also remove any other debris from the screws to keep the result clean. It was very fast and after I completed going through the entire original mass of screws for that one size, now reduced in size, I started over and selected the next size of screw to sort out.

I have no idea. I blanked it all out.)


Publishing News! 

Bob Katzman’s two new true Chicago books are now for sale, from him!
Vol. One: A Savage Heart and Vol. Two: Fighting Words

Gritty, violent, friendship, classic American entrepreneurship love, death, heartbreak and the real dirt about surviving in a completely corrupt major city under the Chicago Machine. More history and about one man’s life than a person may imagine.

Please visit my new website: https://www.dontgoquietlypress.com
If a person doesn’t want to use PayPaI, I also have a PO Box & I ship anywhere in America.

Send me a money order with your return and contact info.
I will get your books to you within ten days.
Here’s complete information on how to buy my books:

Vol 1: A Savage Heart and Vol. 2: Fighting Words
My books weigh almost 2 pounds each, with about 525 pages each and there are a total together of 79 stories and story/poems.

Robert M. Katzman
Don’t Go Quietly Press
PO Box 44287
Racine, Wis. 53404-9998  (262)752-3333, 8AM–7PM

Books cost $29.95 each, plus shipping

For: (1)$3.95; (2)$5.95; (3)$7.95; (4)$8.95 (5)$9.95;(6) $10.95

(7) $11.95; (8) $12.95; (9)$13.95 (10)$15.95 (15)$19.95

I am also for hire if anyone wants me to read my work and answer questions in the Chicago/Milwaukee area. Schools should call me for quantity discounts for 30 or more books. Also: businesses, bookstores, private organizations or churches and so on.

My Fighting Words Publishing Co. four original books, published between 2004 and 2007 are now out-of-print. I still have some left and will periodically offer them for sale on my new website.



Comment by Jim Payne

June 21, 2022 @ 6:37 am

Thanks for the delightful lite humor. I enjoyed it but had to restrain myself from listing “screw” puns galore. Your voyage through the sea of screws reminds me how I don’t see the special experiences that two different people navigate to be each others lover. May you always sort out your differences while keeping your own sense of self.

Comment by Kumari

June 21, 2022 @ 2:38 pm

Hahahaha! This is a good story!

Comment by Jordan

June 21, 2022 @ 5:13 pm

Shalom Bob,

Wonderful story. You wrote,
“ Part of Life, I guess
Is learning when to shut up
and just accept the situation
With humor and good will..”

Good insight. Do you want “shalom bayit” or do you want to be right? The Don Schmitz tune made famous by Kenny Rogers z”l puts it as follows,
“You gotta know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, know when to walk away,
know when to run…”
Stay well and thanks again for the story.

Comment by David Griesemer

June 29, 2022 @ 4:57 pm

So Bob compares Nancy to the wind. As in that ballad from Dirty Dancing, She’s Like the Wind. Nice.

And learning to shut up – reminds me of a James Taylor lyric:
If I had stopped to listen once or twice
If I had closed my mouth and opened my eyes
If I had cooled my head and warmed my heart
I’d not be on this road tonight
(That Lonesome Road)

Notice Bob is not on that road. He knows that fast sorting is rarely a virtue in fairy tales.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>