This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.
First of all, I am not going to respond to my wife’s post. I told her she could write about whatever she wanted, and she chose to rip me a new one and basically castrate me. It’s not even worth mentioning that more than half the stuff she said is either ridiculously exaggerated or patently untrue. But the one thing she did get right, is my complete lack of skill as a handyman.
I admit it, I’m terrible at fixing things. And that sucks because I’m a man. A dude. The proverbial king of my castle. I should do things like construct a deck, rebuild an engine and maybe put an addition on the house. At the very least I should be able to change a flat tire. Unfortunately, I barely have enough automotive wherewithal to take the gas cap off. But it gets worse. If we buy something that needs major assembly, I probably can’t put it together. MJ assembled most of the baby stuff, the closet organizer, the vacuum, our massive sleigh bed and our entertainment center. And as salt in the wounds, she can work on cars.
On our first date we were out to dinner when her brother called. His jeep had broken down and being the intellectual metrosexual he is (and I mean that in the most complimentary of ways Tom), he called MJ to help him out because he’s almost as bad as I am with automobiles. I immediately went into panic mode as we drove to meet him. How could I not?? Here I am on the first date and I’m presented with the perfect opportunity to put my masculinity on display. A real man would’ve said “Step aside little lady, I’ll fix this” and then he would’ve gone under the hood, tinkered around a bit and started up the car within minutes.
Instead, I was emasculated as MJ (who was all dressed up and looking HOT by the way) popped the hood and began to survey the damage. I sheepishly looked over her shoulder and feverishly tried to think of auto parts I could name as the potential problem. I believe I muttered something along the lines of “Hmmm…I think it’s the carborotator, engine block…belt.” Then I kicked the tires because well…that’s all I had left.
I just don’t have a mind for it. I don’t have that innate curiosity other people have. When engineers look at something they immediately want to know what makes it tick. All I care about is whether or not it works properly. I even hated puzzles and building blocks as a kid. Basically I’m the most mechanically retarded person on Earth and I rely on my wife for home repairs.
So why am I talking about this on the blog? Because I just realized, one day Will is going to realize this and it’s going to suck. He’s going to be over one of his friend’s houses and that friend’s dad will be working on a dirtbike or building a treehouse and Will is going to come home and say “Daddy, can you build me a treehouse too?” And I’m going to have to look that poor kid in his eyes and say, “Sorry pal. Daddy’s a huge pansy. Go ask your mother.”
I know this because my father is the same way and I remember feeling disappointed that he couldn’t build things or fix a car when I was growing up. In fact, we still make fun of him to this day about being a wuss after my mom told us a story that we’ll never forget. When my parents were dating, they took a rowboat out to an island and they were wrestling once off the boat. My dad tripped my mom and ended up breaking her leg. She was in a lot of pain but they still had to get off the island and back to shore. Except when my dad grabbed the oars, he realized he had no idea how to paddle correctly. So my mother had to row back to shore with a broken leg, and has never let him forget it.
Now sure stories like that are amusing, but I don’t want my son to know I can’t do things like that. I want Will to see me as Superman for as long as possible. Yet I can see it now, when he joins the Cub Scouts or something and he has to tie a knot or build a birdhouse, he’ll go straight to his mother. And at that point, you might as well just tattoo an enormous vagina on my forehead.
Oh well, at least I can play sports. We’ll just stick to baseball for as long as humanly possible and hope that nothing ever has to be fixed around the house!