Breaking Bad, the celebrated cable TV series that tells of a high school chemistry teacher who becomes a drug kingpin, ended its five year run Sunday. The writers settled many of the plot twists developed over the years, including one involving Jesse, the sidekick to the chemistry teacher.
A woodshop teachers challenge to Jesse years ago made an impression, a redeeming element for this unsavory character. Jesse recalls four attempts to build a better box of Peruvian walnut inlaid with Zebra wood in a conversation with a rehab group leader.
Group Leader: Jesse, last time, you seemed down about your job at the Laundromat. Let me ask something, if you had the chance to do anything you wanted, what would you do?
Jesse Pinkman: Make more green, man. A lot more.
Group Leader: Forget about money. Assume you have all you want.
Jesse Pinkman: I don't know. I guess I would make something.
Group Leader: Like what?
Jesse Pinkman: I don't know if it even matters, but... work with my hands, I guess.
Group Leader: Building things, like carpentry or bricklaying or something?
Jesse Pinkman: I took this vo-tech class in high school, woodworking. I took a lot of vo-tech classes, because it was just big jerk-off, but this one time I had this teacher by the name of... Mr... Mr. Pike. I guess he was like a Marine or something before he got old. He was hard hearing. My project for his class was to make this wooden box.
You know, like a small, just like a... like a box, you know, to put stuff in. So I wanted to get the thing done as fast as possible. I figured I could cut classes for the rest of the semester and he couldn't flunk me as long as I, you know, made the thing. So I finished it in a couple days. And it looked pretty lame, but it worked. You know, for putting in or whatnot. So when I showed it to Mr. Pike for my grade, he looked at it and said:
"Is that the best you can do?" At first I thought to myself "Hell yeah, bitch. Now give me a D and shut up so I can go blaze one with my boys." I don't know. Maybe it was the way he said it, but... it was like he wasn't exactly saying it sucked. He was just asking me honestly, "Is that all you got?" And for some reason, I thought to myself: "Yeah, man, I can do better."
So I started from scratch. I made another, then another. And by the end of the semester, by like box number five, I had built this thing. You should have seen it. It was insane. I mean, I built it out of Peruvian walnut with inlaid zebrawood. It was fitted with pegas, no screws. I sanded it for days, until it was smooth as glass. Then I rubbed all the wood with tung oil so it was rich and dark. It even smelled good. You know, you put nose in it and breathed in, it was... it was perfect.
Group Leader: What happened to the box?
Jesse Pinkman: I... I gave it to my mom.
Group Leader: Nice. You know what I'm gonna say, don't you? It's never too late. They have art co-ops that offer classes, adult extension program at the University.
Jesse Pinkman: You know, I didn't give the box to my mom. I traded it for an ounce of weed.