Monday, September 17, 2007

25 Things A Man Should Know

Popular Mechanics published this list:

25 Skills Every Man Should Know:

1. Patch a radiator hose
2. Protect your computer
3. Rescue a boater who has 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


Personally I think this list is mostly crap. I used to think Popular Mechanics was an interesting magazine. But if Popular Mechanics thinks this is the definitive list of things a man needs to know how to do they need to strap on their waterskis, put on their leather jacket and get ready to jump that shark.

Does every man really need to know how to protect a computer, retouch digital photos, back up data, hook up an HDTV and extend a wireless network. These tasks are what many men have teenage kids for. Granted some men love doing these tasks. But I know several well rounded men's men who don't have a clue how to use, set up or maintain a computer and their lives are complete and happy without this knowledge. These just are not skills that many men (or women) will need in their lives. In many cases many families will find that they only need one family member who can do these things.

Some men have their own way of doing some of these things:

2. Protect your computer. Men will protect their computer the same way they protect the rest of their stuff - by shooting anyone who tries to take it.

5. Retouch digital photos. Why retouch a photo when you can just cut that lying bitch's face out of it.

16. Back up data. Can't be any tougher than backing up a trailer (see no. 6). Again this is the teenager's job.

21. Hook up an HDTV. If you have trouble connecting an HDMI cable between the output of the receiver and the input of the TV then you need to hire a nanny and never leave the house without her.

25. Extend your wireless network. If your wireless network isn't large enough maybe you should stop surfing the net while mowing your lawn.

If you want a shorter more succinct list you should check out the list of required knowledge for men over at Sippican Cottage:

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


Personally I have always liked Robert A. Heinlein's list of skills a man needs in his stories about Lazarus Long:

A man should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. - Lazarus Long


That quote has pretty much summed up a lot of what I think a man should know how to do. But there are a few things that I would have added to the list. So here is the list that I hope I manage to teach my son before he gets too old to listen to me anymore. There are not a lot of specifics here. Every man will have different likes, desires, and interests so I tend to avoid specifics like know how to build a house or rebuild an engine. I love building things, but I pay someone to fix my car. Beyond regular maintenance I just have no interest in car repair.

Every man should know:

1. How to buy quality stuff and then take care if it so it lasts.
2. How to maintain your car - oil, filter, plugs, lube, etc.
3. How to change a tire.
4. When and how to shoot, clean, maintain and assemble firearms.
5. How to kill it, clean it, cook it and eat it.
6. How to talk to children.
7. How to talk to women.
8. How to earn a living and live within the means that living provides.
9. How to set up, use, clean, sharpen and maintain power and hand tools.
10. How to repair or replace things that break around your house.
11. How and why you should be on time.
12. How to hold, feed and change a baby.
13. How to wait patiently for the women in your life.
14. To put the needs of your family ahead of your own wants.
15. When and how to take a stand and which battles are worth fighting and which battles are OK to lose.
16. To have faith.
17. That acting macho doesn't make you a man. (Also known as the "If you have to tell people you are a man, you aren't." rule)
18. How and when to make commitments and to keep them.
19. That you become a man by being a loving husband, a good dad and a trusted friend.
20. How and why you do the right thing, even if no one is looking and no one will ever know.

3 comments:

Robert said...

"Why retouch a photo when you can just cut that lying bitch's face out of it."

There has to be a story behind this comment and I would love to hear it.

David said...

No story really. I think I was channeling several friends with that comment.

Previous to my marriage all my dating relationships ended friendly. Or at least non-hostile. Well OK, at least none of us has ever hired someone to break each other's knees.

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