On Friday (my Saturday, for those of you keeping track) I headed back to my old stomping grounds in the New Haven area because I needed to get to the tax department and pay off my car taxes so that I can renew the registration on my car by February. While I was there, I went to the ever-so-awesome IKEA because they had a specific item I was looking for: one of those magnet strips that you put up on your wall and hang your knives on it (they make a kitchen look so… sophisticated). Target had one, but I didn’t like the way it looked and it was three times the price, so I waited until I was going to be in IKEA territory.

IKEA is one of those stores that you have to be careful entering, because not only will you find what you’re looking for; you’ll find about five hundred other items that you need but didn’t realize you needed. I also bought two new pillows for the bed and a new bookshelf, which I had been telling myself I was going to buy but was wary of spending all that money—they had exactly the one I was looking for, and it was only twenty bucks so I snatched it right up. I was THIS CLOSE to buying a nice big bit of artwork to hang in my living room, too, but I couldn’t justify spending seventy dollars for a low-quality reprint on canvas of a photograph that just wasn’t original (it was admittedly beautiful, though; if only it wasn’t completely mass-produced). Plus, I promised myself when I moved into this place with its enormous amounts of wall space that I would put my own photography on the walls, and that’s what I’m going to do. But it goes to show just how dangerous it is to enter IKEA.

It’s like that with two other stores for me, too: bookstores and Best Buy—it doesn’t matter what I’ve gone in there to buy, unless I’m very careful, I’ll pick up at least one other item. While I was on my way to West Haven on Friday, I was listening to Talk of the Nation: Science Friday on NPR, and heard the host talking with a guest named Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is the director of the Hayden Planetarium. He had this book out called “Death by Black Hole” that sounded completely fascinating to me, and so I stopped by the Barnes & Noble near my old apartment and picked it up. And also, I picked up Stephen King’s book “On Writing,” which I’ve been telling myself to read for ages now, since I fancy myself an amateur writer.

So by now, you’re probably wondering what all this has to do with the subject. Good question, dear reader. One of the funny things about items purchased at IKEA is this: they never provide mounting hardware. The bookshelf I bought came with a little strap that you attach to the top, which then gets attached to the wall so that the bookshelf doesn’t come toppling down at the wrong moment. Not a bad idea, I thought to myself. Here’s the funny thing, though: It came with a screw to attach the strap to the bookshelf—but no screw to attach it to the wall. How odd. Likewise, the knife strip came with no mounting screws at all.

So today, before I could install all of this hardware, I had to make a trip to Guy Heaven: the Home Depot. Basking in the glow of power tools and taking in the scent of sawdust, I made my way over to the hardware section and picked up a small box of drywall mounts and a box of fifty drywall screws. Seriously. They don’t come in anything smaller than that. Granted, the box only cost me four bucks, but I only needed three of them. While I was there, I picked up a small pocket level—after all, wouldn’t want that knife strip to be crooked. So it appears that the inability to buy only the thing I intend to buy extends beyond books and electronics equipment. Go figure.

So I spent a portion of my evening screwing things into walls. Makes me feel like a real man.