The other day I was working in the bedroom when I heard the unmistakable sound of youth, in a variety of ages and sizes, engaging in potentially enjoyable behavior. In other words, the kids from the next building over were playing outside and having a heck of a good time doing it.
Being the great observer that I am, by which I mean I’ve perfected the art of being nosey without anyone else knowing, I glanced out the window and, to my amazement, witnessed the young males of the group playing with pocket knives.
I was instantly paralyzed by fear; the fear of knowing that one of those boys could trip, fall, and poke his sister’s eye out with the tree branches they were carrying. Worse yet, if one of them was able to get his hands on a set of Jarts we could be looking at a 911 call in the near future, followed by a lawsuit championed by an attorney with a strange resemblance to one Johnnie Cochran.
“Doesn’t their mother teach them anything?”, I wondered to myself.
Ah, yes… boys will be boys. At least that’s what I hear people say all the time. I guess it must be true because I used to do the same sorts of things. I had my own pocket knife which I brazenly used to carve my initials into trees, let my classmates know that “Kilroy was here”, and remove slivers and unslightly skin blemishes — all without washing my hands or the blade in question.
As an adult I have been known to use my pocket knife to mix epoxy and then, in one clean, swift motion stir a cup of coffee just prior to imbibing thereof. My pocket knife has been exposed to gasoline, insects, fish guts, spam, mold and mildew, and a list of bodily fluids that may, or may not, be suitable for listing in a family column such as this. But get this: I’ve never washed the blade in the more than 20 years I’ve owned it. Who needs soapy water and disinfectant when a readily available pant leg will do?
If you find all of this disgusting, by which I mean you’re a woman, just relax and chill out. We men have been behaving in this way since the dawn of creation, yet we’re still able to produce offspring, use complete sentences, and clean up really well when necessary. At least give us some credit, please.
All that said, what are some of the other uniquely male things we do? At the top of list has to be the fact that we can, and will, use duct tape to fix just about anything. By the way, did you know duct tape was originally invented for military use during World War II? Seriously, it was.
Duct tape was developed as a water resistant product that could be used to seal ammunition boxes. The boxes had to be, of course, broken first, otherwise there would have been no joy in showing your fellow soldiers how you managed to save the entire army with a roll of duct tape.
Men have been known to use duct tape to repair their cars (I have personally done so on numerous occasions), fix ripped clothing items, bandage wounds, and hide from your parents the fact that you botched the Christmas tree trimming project back in 1979. With a small amount of green model paint and some dumb luck no one ever needs to know, at least until the top half of the Christmas tree starts to die.
Some other uniquely manly things we do include:
- showing our affection for one another — if it’s possible — with a good, stiff punch in the arm
- comparing battle scars earned through various home improvement projects and/or sporting activities
- playing golf even though we get so angry we endanger the lives of small animals and golf carts
- making a concerted effort to let it be known we know everything about anything
- spending 90 min. trying to grill a steak outdoors when the temperature is a brisk 90 below zero
If you’re a man there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Take pride in the fact that you, and you alone, know exactly how much distance there is between the front bumper of the car and the garage door. Hold your head high knowing that you’re saving the family budget by not replacing your underwear until they are worn down to a single thread attached to a piece of frayed elastic. Be confident in your ability to make a tasty chili using ingredients not normally considered safe for human consumption.
You’re a man! Enjoy your manliness! Shout from the mountaintops how awesome it is to be you!
Just do your wife a favor first: put that pocket knife away before you poke little Suzy’s eye out with a stick. Oh, and please wash your hands.