Friday, November 14, 2008

Measure of a Man

From Popular Mechanics, a list of 100 things every guy should know. Let’s see how I stack up as a man in the eyes of the PM's editors and writers, shall we? The skills I feel comfortable with are in bold, for those I don’t, I offer excuses.

1. Handle a blowout
2. Drive in snow
3. Check trouble codes – take it to the dealer. While there are some I can figure out, what the hell good is it going to do me if I can’t fix it myself?
4. Replace fan belt – so, there’s an emergency fix for this, like when you’re crossing the desert and you’re fan belt breaks you can use a pair of your wife/girlfriend’s pantyhose, aside from that, take it to the dealer.
5. Wax a car
6. Conquer an off-road obstacle – learning how to do this is a lot more fun when the vehicle is a Humvee with USMC painted on the side. You're a lot less concerned about nicking the paint.
7. Use a stick welder – the caveat to this is that I know how to use a MIG (metal inert gas) welder. Does that count?
8. Hitch up a trailer
9. Jump-start a car

10. Perform the Heimlich
11. Reverse hypothermia – anything involving nudity is fun, even near-death experiences.
12. Perform hands-only CPR
13. Escape a sinking car

14. Carve a turkey
15. Use a sewing machine – Yes, even I had to take 7th and 8th grade home ec.
16. Put out a fire
17. Home-brew beer – I understand the concept, I just don’t see the purpose when you can have someone else do it for you.
18. Remove bloodstains from fabric – why remove the stain when you can just bury the body?
19. Move heavy stuff
20. Grow food – see #17 above.
21. Read an electric meter – you know, I initially didn’t bold this one, but in retrospect, I recall learning how to do this.
22. Shovel the right way
23. Solder wire
24. Tape drywall – this isn’t bolded because, while I’ve never done it, I’ve watched enough This Old House to probably fake it pretty well.
25. Split firewood
26. Replace a faucet washer
27. Mix concrete – another good way to get rid of blood stains…
28. Paint a straight line
29. Use a French knife – WTF is a French knife? OK, looked it up, it’s a chef’s knife. Put a check next to this one please.
30. Prune bushes and small trees – isn’t this something for the guys hanging around outside Home Depot?
31. Iron a shirt
32. Fix a toilet tank flapper
33. Change a single-pole switch – I can even do it with the power still on.
34. Fell a tree – I even have a merit badge for doing this.
35. Replace a broken windowpane
36. Set up a ladder, safely
37. Fix a faucet cartridge
38. Sweat copper tubing
39. Change a diaper – you’d think with five nieces (with two more on the way) and three nephews I might have gotten around to learning this, but no.
40. Grill with charcoal
41. Sew a button on a shirt
42. Fold a flag

43. Treat frostbite – Not only was I a Boy Scout, I was an Eagle Scout.
44. Treat a burn – See #43.
45. Help a seizure victim – See #43.
46. Treat a snakebite – See #43.
47. Remove a tick – See #43.

Military Know-How – I’m not even going to address these…
48. Shine shoes
49. Make a drum-tight bed
50. Drop and give the perfect push-up

51. Run rapids in a canoe – See #43.
52. Hang food in the wild – See #43.
53. Skipper a boat
54. Shoot straight – not only can I shoot straight, I can hit ya from 500 yards. (Rifle Expert Badge-Sixth Award, Pistol Expert Badge).
55. Tackle steep drops on a mountain bike – I used to have a collection of broken bike parts as a testament to my learning this skill.
56. Escape a rip current

57. Build a fire in the wilderness – the building is the easy part, it’s the getting it lit that can be a challenge. But rest assured, I know how to do this as well.
58. Build a shelter – Folks make fun of Boy Scouts, but get lost in the woods even once and everyone’s looking for the guy with the Wilderness Survival Merit Badge.
59. Find potable water

Surviving Extremes
60. Floods
61. Tornados
62. Cold
63. Heat
64. Lightning

Teach Your Kids
65. Cast a line – remind me to tell you the story about my first fishing pole some day.
66. Lend a hand – what the hell is this suppose to mean?
67. Change a tire
68. Throw a spiral
69. Fly a stunt kite
70. Drive a stick shift
71. Parallel park
72. Tie a bowline – OK, here is my secret shame and where my Boy Scout training breaks down. For the life of me I’ve never been able to get the rabbit to go around the tree and go back down into his hole. I’ve tried to compensate by tying figure 8’s on a bight, but it’s still a blow to my manhood.
73. Tie a necktie – one of these days I’m also going to learn to tie a bow tie.
74. Whittle
75. Ride a bike

76. Install a graphics card
77. Take the perfect portrait
78. Calibrate HDTV settings – Didn’t know you had to do this. Hmmmm, I’ll have to look into this.
79. Shoot a home movie – is this really a skill? Can’t you just put the camera on the tripod and hit record? Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Say no more…
80. Ditch your hard drive – see #91.

Master These Key Workshop Tools
81. Drill driver
82. Grease gun
83. Coolant hydrometer
84. Socket wrench
85. Test light
86. Brick trowel – I have too much respect for masons to take bread from their tables.
87. Framing hammer
88. Wood chisel
89. Spade bit
90. Circular saw
91. Sledge hammer
92. Hacksaw
93. Torque wrench
94. Air wrench
95. Infrared thermometer
96. Sand blaster – Just ‘cause I’ve never used one, but I figure I could pick up the skill pretty quick.
97. Crosscut saw
98. Hand plane
99. Multimeter
100. Feeler gauges
So, there you have it, my PM Man Score is…Wow, only 81*. I’m a B- as a man. Well, I can fix that. Off to get some Levi Garret, a sand blaster, a box of Huggies and a sailboat to work on the man skills over the weekend. Come Monday you won’t even recognize me.

Guys, how did you do? Are you manly men, or do you merely play one on TV? And ladies, how manly are you? Do you still need us, or are we becoming obsolete? Anyone want a chaw?

*Like Alaska and Minnesota, the list required a recount. Adding in #s 7, 21 and 29, I’m up to an 84. Whew! I’m feeling much more secure as a man now.
**For those of you who don't recognize him, that's the Steel Drivin' Man, John Henry.
***The one thing I haven't mastered is getting Blogger to do what I want when it comes to line spacing and such. That really annoys me.


Shannon said...

My score? 17. I'd make for an incredibly useless man. So, at the very least, I'll always need you.

FoggyDew said...

Shannon, really? 17? Not bad. I bet there are those who won't do nearly as well.

Also, glad I'll still be needed once our primary purpose is made obsolete.

LiLu said...

I got, like a 7 1/2. The half being jumping a car, as I know how to do it in THEORY but it never seems to work when I try. Also, the other seven were all domestic things like the sewing machine and changing a diaper. I would make a horrible, horrible man.