An old friend of mine called this afternoon to thank me, tearfully, for the tool kit I gave her as a wedding present 12 years ago.

I was a little taken aback at first, because one, it took me a minute to remember I had given to her, and two, because I remember the look on her face when she unwrapped the gift and saw I had her given her a deluxe-tool box that weighed about 50 pounds and comprised of all tools made for female hands. She was confused, she was embarassed, and clearly, not happy with the gift.

Okay, back story: She was 23 years old and instead of drifting into a career upon graduation from college, she drifted in marriage. She was doing it because she couldn’t figure out anything better to do. He was doing it because she fit in nicely with this idea he had about the “right wife aiding him greatly” in his career. Yes, that is a direct quote.

As any of my friends can attest, if I think you’re making a bonehead move that will ruin your life, I am pretty keen to tell you so. This is why I have few friends. However, my friend really, really, really, wanted me to be happy for her and I wasn’t nor could I be. She had her life before her and he was a frat-boy-schmuck on an endless summer beer bong. I told her I hoped I was wrong, but I didn’t think I was.

Anyhoo-the year prior to the nuptials, I did everything possible to talk her out of marriage. And yet, that didn’t manage to get me kicked of the wedding party unfortunately, but she got me back with the really ugly bridesmaid dress.

I threw her a bridal shower for just friends where she received self-help books, airplane tickets for one, a metal file, a length of lead pipe, a collapsible escape ladder, and a Rolodex that contained no less than 50 cards for divorce attorneys (as you can see, I wasn’t the only one who thought this was a really bad idea).

Her bachelorette party (which I didn’t organize) ended up being an intervention where even her Maid of Honor was offering to drive her anywhere she wanted if she would just not go through with the wedding.

Sadly, the wedding was had and the marriage commenced. It lasted 6 years and 8 1/2 months of her second pregnancy.

So my friend called me today while she was in the middle of a hellacious project of trying to put together a playset for her sons by herself. The massive tool box is still with her, a little worse for wear, and not only did the handle break today, but it threw a wheel which rolled down the driveway and into a storm drain.

She called to tell me that that tool kit had seen her through putting together furniture in her first home after the wedding when her husband was out all night with his beer buddies, through putting together the crib for her first son when her husband was always working late, through fixing the garbage disposal when her husband was off cheating on her, and countless other projects throughout the divorce and the subsequent years as a single mother. And now that the tool box was falling apart and needed to be replaced, she was much more upset at having to replace the toolbox than she ever was over leaving her husband. As she put it, that tool kit had seen her through a bad marriage, a horrible divorce, and some lonely years of trying to raise her sons by herself.

Damn. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t have the heart too tell her that I only gave it as a joke although I’m glad it did more for her than its intended purpose, which was to serve as a a symbol of my undying snarkiness. It certainly has done more for her over the years than I have.