Thursday, September 13, 2007

You've Never Even Met A Man. Stop Writing About Them

I'm getting a lot of people visiting my site because they're searching on the topic of "things men should be able to do." They end up here, mostly: 10 Things You Should Be Able To Do If You're A Handy Homeowner. That one was written in response to Popular Mechanic's list of indispensable hand skills.

Well, Popular Mechanics has gone back to that well for another drink: 25 Skills Every Man Should Know. Hence people showing up at my doorstep looking for someone dirty. The online pubishing world has figured out that a list of any kind is the way to draw eyeballs. They've also figured out that very few living persons has ever even met an actual Man person, the breed having been hunted nearly to extinction, so they can write down any old thing in a bulleted way and sell advertising for Sharper Image in the margins.

Here's the list. I stole it. How manly:

1. Patch a radiator hose
2. Protect your computer
3. Rescue a boater who as capsized
4. Frame a wall
5. Retouch digital photos
6. Back up a trailer
7. Build a campfire
8. Fix a dead outlet
9. Navigate with a map and compass
10. Use a torque wrench
11. Sharpen a knife
12. Perform CPR
13. Fillet a fish
14. Maneuver a car out of a skid
15. Get a car unstuck
16. Back up data
17. Paint a room
18. Mix concrete
19. Clean a bolt-action rifle
20. Change oil and filter
21. Hook up an HDTV
22. Bleed brakes
23. Paddle a canoe
24. Fix a bike flat
25. Extend your wireless network

Geez. There's a whiff of delirium tremens about the list, a kind of random weirdness; it's as if a female martian was describing what she figured a human male would be like, but never having visited our orb, she was just taking a stab at it.

I suppose I'm obligated to tell you I've done everything on the list, whether I have or not, because that seems to be the "manly" thing to do. But me? I'm probably not lying. Let's take any one from the list... let's see... paint a room?

House Painter

Heterosexual Eye For The Married Guy

First, Get 200 Gallons Of Paint

Get Busy

I Tire Of This Sport

Never mind all that. I'm sick of cubicle dwellers waxing philosophical about people like me. The difference between me and the cubicle dwellers is I can do everything on your lists, but I know how to write. Go get a pedicure or something while I post my list:

Sippican's List Of Everything A Man Should Know:

1. Know how to do whatever the hell you feel like doing
2. Learn how to take your lumps for doing #1

Class dismissed.


Wolf Flywheel said...

I find your list to be the most accurate as well as the most difficult for some to fulfill. I would personally add a 3rd line to your list...

#3: Once you complete #2, have enough brass left over to start at #1 again.

God must love me for giving me my wonderful wife but as with many other ladies, she makes me work for #2. I love her for it though. We are both debaters and it keeps our wits sharp.

Steve said...

Use a torque wrench? What about just tightening until it breaks? Sheared metal has always seemed manly to me.

Dave said...

These lists miss the point. If you can do any manual/electrical/crafts like task, it takes the aura of mystery out of it all and replaces it with one of respect/confidence. After all the guys who do this are just schmos like me, so how hard can it be.

Once you do this, you look differently at Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers, etc. as well. They're just schmoes who learned some skills as well. It also helps by removing the mystery of "certification". Yep a licensed electrician would be a help on a complex, high power job, but he can screw up an outlet just as well as you can!

Larry said...

Better to not use a torque wrench and still get it right.

And I have been a "cube dweller" or something like it a good part of my life.

But I have been asked if I think I can do every thing (with the intent of belittling me). My answer has long been that there are some things that I don't want to do (which makes up the bulk of the list of things I am glad somebody else will do--and the reason I do not sneer at the work anybody does), and there are things I have never tried (which includes the things that I am clearly not qualified to do like bear children, for example).

And you don't have to be a man to to make those kinds of claims. I have daughters who can fix a flat, change the oil, and a lot of other things as well.

Anonymous said...

I do believe you just ranted.

Have you gone to the window yet and performed your Howard Beale?

Anwyn said...

Bit tetchy this morning, Mr. Sippican?

SippicanCottage said...

I think you should all keep in mind that I may not be... entirely serious at all times.

Now that you mention it, I might never be.

Anwyn said...

Mini-mystery solved: For a while now I've thought you must be one of the earliest risers in the blogosphere. Now I see that your timestamp is set to my time zone, not yours. Whew. Handy, knowledgeable, funny, writer, and double-plus early riser would really have been too much to take. :)

SippicanCottage said...

Hi Anwyn- I never noticed the timedate stamp. I should reset it.

Would it disappoint you further if I told you I generally write this after already working for several hours?

Anwyn said...

Heh. Not really, especially considering that despite my earlier moroseness about money or whatever, I've made my first modest order of your furniture, with my eye on more down the road.

I'll just consider your occasional, potentially unserious, tetchiness is the result of getting up too early in the morning so I can continue to feel good about my lie-abed ways.

Anwyn said...

Of course, what that says about my own quite serious crankiness won't bear investigation.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

My little zen garden on the desk of my cubicle is "veal pen flair."

So, Sipp, how're ya' comin' on my pink toy box?

SippicanCottage said...

There are two --count'em two purchasers of Ten Finger Steppers here in the comments. Amazing.

SippicanCottage said...

Hey Ruth Anne- I'm afraid all potential new designs are on a back burner. After being sick for so long, I had to concentrate on getting straight-up orders out the door.

Maybe the toy box will be good as a hope chest for your little beauties.

I've never heard the expression "veal pen" for the cubicle farm. That's fantastic. I'm stealing that.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Steal as you wish. I stole it from Lileks. You've heard of "prairie-dogging" haven't you? It's what veal-pen cubicle dwellers do when they want to see what's happening across the room, but not being too obvious. They pop up, look around, return to their subterranean habitat.

Larry said...

Question been bothering me all day.

The pose and the hand suggest "32 oz. Framing Hammer.

The Handle suggests "Finishing Hammer".

Which is closer?

SippicanCottage said...

larry- I've never seen the picture uncropped. It's 65 years old. It's probably a framing hammer.