If my grandfather and great-grandfathers were with us and able to sit down and talk, I can imagine their lament: “Why don’t you know how to do anything? Why don’t any of you know how to do anything?”
Sure, I’m average to slightly above average on a computer. I can tweet, Facebook, Foursquare, and blog with the ease of a teenager, but in the end have I done anything? These advancements in technology would have most definitely seemed space-age to my forefathers and sure to impress at some degree. Put simply, most of my output is with my hands, but only when attached to a keyboard. I noted this last year as a defining reason on why I bought a motorcycle- it is something to work on with my hands. And while having a hobby in which I can work with my hands is important, there still remains a stirring inside my soul, and I believe, most male souls.
We want to feel useful. We want to feel like we came in, got it done, and helped you out. Woman, admittedly, also have this trait, but it seems to come in much softer forms and in different areas of life. I’m not here to debate if it’s nature or nurture or if societal stereotypes over the decades have led us to this point. Quite frankly, I don’t care. But the truth be told, men throughout history have a deep longing to feel needed to fix things.
I was reminded of this yesterday when a friend asked me where she could go to get her tail light bulb replaced. I nearly leapt through my GChat. Me! Me! I can fix that! Is it a hard fix? No. Did I feel useful and handy as I walked away with my screwdriver? You bet. I would conquer the Honda Accord tail light bulb repair of 2013.
Lunch hour couldn’t come soon enough for me to run into the auto parts store and buy the replacement bulbs. A Honda Accord may be a fairly unisex car, but I’m certain the cashier could just tell I was helping a lady friend out of a ticket and a possible accident. He could tell I was tapping into my man-skills. After work the damsel in distress would come over for the repair, and I would feel useful, accomplished, and handy. Then a twist… A work call meant I would have to meet her at her place. More of a sacrifice? You bet. Fantastic- sign me up. But little did I know the true test of character coming my way…
After evaluating the situation and listening to her tell jokes only she laughs at, we decided there was actually nothing wrong with her tail lights. Given it was 15 degrees; I may have been overly eager to declare the car clear of defects. As she hopped in and drove away to run an errand I saw it… Right brake light was indeed burned out. A phone call later and I was waiting patiently for her to return from the store. The darkness, the shivering, the cold, the almost dead cell phone from looking at ESPN… all part of the sacrifice that would make the actual fix that much sweeter.
Twenty minutes later I was back at work. Two minutes later I was done. It was over before I could really convince her it was actually difficult. I made it look too easy… In fact, it was easy. It is what it is though. I’m not the person with the knowledge to fix the bigger problems, but each time I get called about a dead battery, flat tire, or burned out bulb, part of me feels like a man. Throw in some inclement weather, all the better to remind me I still have a pair.
Honda Accord Light Bulb … Conquered.