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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Meet the B'owl, Siciliano's handyman extraordinaire

The B'owl
By Steve Siciliano

In this post, Steve introduces readers to his longtime friend and handyman, Rodney Lawrence.

I’m a merchant, not a plumber, carpenter, electrician, painter, roofer or small engine repair guy. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no more adept at unplugging drains than I am at hanging large beer signs. I don’t have the aptitude for putting up ceiling fans or repairing cinder block walls. I don't have a clue how to repack the wheel bearings on my boat trailer or how to evict a family of raccoons from their home inside my front porch. It’s a good thing that I know the B’owl.

We like nicknames here at Siciliano’s. Many of our customers know that Sarah is the “Cheetah” and that Chris, the managing editor of The Buzz, is the “Perch”. I've called Greg the “Bug” ever since the day I playfully attacked him and he defended himself by rolling up in a potato bug-like ball. The guy who makes our wooden racks is the “Goat”, Doug is “Chug” or “Pretty Boy”, and, whenever my wife is working on a project to make the old building look better, we call her “Barb Villa” (a nickname derived from Bob Villa). The aforementioned "B'owl" is our friend Rod Lawrence, maintenance man extraordinaire.

Before Rod’s nickname became the B’owl we called him “Rod the (small g) god” because, to the decidedly non-mechanical mortals around here, it seems that he has a superhuman ability to fix things. I had known Rod a good ten years before I became aware of his proficiencies. I knew that he was a maintenance man for a condominium complex, that he drove an old beat up white van and that, by virtue of our frequent conversations in the store, he could talk intelligently about a vast array of subjects. But it wasn’t until he came in the store one day and saw me dumbly staring at a schematic on my computer screen that we began our working relationship.

The B'owl's famous van

“What are you doing?” he asked me.

“I broke a spindle on the deck of my lawn tractor,” I answered.

“Do you know how to fix it?”

“Trying to figure that out,” I said.

“Do you have the right tools?”

“Beats the hell out of me,” I replied.

There was a brief silence and then an audible sigh. “Let me help you.”

That evening he backed his white van into my driveway. When he opened its back door I glanced inside and instantly decided that it had to contain every tool that is known to man. An hour later the tractor was working again, and as we sat on the back deck drinking a beer I felt a small degree of satisfaction from the fact that I had assisted, albeit slightly, in the repair.

Inside view of the B'owl's famous van

Since that day Rod has become the official maintenance man at the store. When things break around here we put a call out to the B’owl.

We began calling him the B’owl the day a few of us were amusing ourselves by assigning power animals to each member of the staff.

“What about Rod?” somebody asked.

“A bear,” I suggested. “He’s got the body of a bear.”

“But he’s got the wisdom of an owl,” someone else said.

So what do you get when you cross a bear and an owl?

Bear plus owl equals B’owl.

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