or why Vice Grips are also called Mole Wrenches
By Mike Rooth
What, someone asks, is a Mole Wrench? Well, it was invented by a Mr Mole. Strange, you may say, but nevertheless it is the truth! It is a well known fact that English surnames often reflect the occupation of their owners' ancestors. Hence Smith, black, copper, gold etc. No, I have *nothing* to do with baseball, I do assure you. Really. No, no.
However, said Mr Mole, being engaged in the apprehending, and destruction of these notoriously *slippery* small furry creatures, which, as is well known, make small mountains in the immaculate verdure (VERDURE, Maloney, VERdure. ORdure is *completely* different ), which is the sweeping lawns of country houses, desired an appliance to assist him in his quest. So after much thought, and the burning of large quantities of midnight oil (Bass, I believe, or possibly Watneys, history is lamentably lax on this point) he devised a form of pliers which were adjustable by means of a thumbscrew to the diameter of the tail of any given mole he might come across in the performance of his vocation. The advantages of this were twofold. In the first instance, as I have stated, the appliance was adjustable, therefore moles did not need to have tails grown to British Standard no 139654/01 B, Tails, Moles For The Use Of, Sizes Thereof. Secondly, once the appliance was attached to the rodent, even if he *did* mayhap, lose his grip upon the creature, he was able to track it underground, by virtue of its squeals of pain, which it would utter. Contemporary research, carried out at the time, translates these peculiar calls as roughly "Get this fucking nutcracker off my arse" in Molese. Should he peradventure, happen to attach the appliance in error a little further forward than he was used to, it was noted that the cries were somewhat higher pitched, but reasons for this were not clearly understood.
This untoward attack upon their persons, concentrated the Mole Mind wonderfully. After all, "Cuius Testiculos Habes, Habes Cardia et Cerebellum". (A frequent saying of Julius Ponsonby Ceasar 111, when instilling loyalty into his Legionaries, being translated meaning "When you've got them by the balls, you've got their hearts and minds as well"). It is an observed fact that late Roman troops had an *extremely* crouched marching gait. Damn! That should be hearts and MINDS as well.
This concentration resulted in rapid evolutionary activity, amongst the mole population, (any excuse for a quick bonk, eh Steve?) it being observable that the survivors of Mole Wrench Attack were those with the shortest tail (and the smallest knackers). Whilst nature could do little about the latter, internal stowage being somewhat impractical, it *could* solve the appendage problem, and moles very rapidly evolved with no tails. It is somewhat surprising to the writer that armour plated bollocks weren't also in vogue, but perhaps the creatures also evolved a smarter turn of speed as well. (Well, wouldn't you?)
The Mole Wrench was, therefore, no longer of any use to Mr Mole in his daily occupation, and being a countryman and Land Rover Owner, he found alternative use for his invention upon his vehicle. Upon exporting it to The Colonies of America, it became widely used in certain devious sexual practices, resulting in its Transatlantic appellation of "The Vice Wrench". I expect Steve Denis has an unparalleled collection of some of Mr Mole's originals, some of which, no doubt, see service on the maintenance of his vehicle (But which are carefully washed afterwards).
That, then, Gentlemen, is the History and Development of the Mole Wrench. Queries please as usual, to Mr. Maloney & Kenner, nothing *too* difficult, and accompanied by a stamped addressed envelope, and a six pack.
Reprinted from the Ottawa Valley Land Rovers newsletter, December, 1994