Nick Offerman | 10.20.16

“Perspicacious” means to have keen insight and deep knowledge about a great many things.

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Steel Workers Union Hall, St. Louis

The Steel Workers Union Hall on Chouteau in St. Louis looks like a small airplane hangar on the inside. It’s a truly massive, beautiful room. Last Thursday night, you wouldn’t believe how crowded it was. Three rows of chairs were added to the back of the already jam-packed hall and there were folks standing at the back of the room. What was the occasion? Nick Offerman wrote a woodworking book.

In his words, his new book, Good Clean Fun, includes woodworking advice, projects, stories about the woodworkers in his shop, stories about a shop cookout (with recipes), a chapter about shop fashion (written by his wife, Megan Mullally), and stories of ribaldry (grab-ass). I grew up around grandfathers who both had shops. My grandfather David was a machinist and a craftsman, and I was the best tool fetcher Kansas has ever seen. My grandfather Gene has a woodshop, where I spent most of my summers. Unfortunately, I am fairly useless with tools, but listening to Offerman speak about the feeling of pride one gets from creation makes me want to learn what my grandfathers knew. How to build. How to create. How to hand someone an object full of emotion and good intent.

Although 90% of his presentation was about actual woodworking, he spoke about his wife (my lovely wife, my beautiful wife, my talented wife) and his friends with such love and good humor, he honestly could have talked about anything and the crowd would have been just as enraptured. During the Q&A, someone asked what his favorite word was, and he said “perspicacious.” (“Perspicacious” means to have keen insight and deep knowledge about a great many things.) It’s funny that this is his favorite word, because it describes him perfectly.

If Nick Offerman ever gets tired of being an actor, writer, or woodworker, he could easily take on the job of a full-time humorist and lecturer. He has a way with words, a good sense of humor and charm that are reminiscent of Mark Twain. Bonus: His giggle is infectious. If you have the chance, I absolutely recommend Good Clean Fun. It’s as engaging as it is educational, and even if you never pick up a tool, you’ll have a new appreciation for those who do. | Melissa Cynova

Photo by Joe Johnson; view more images here

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