Are We Not Men?

A few weeks ago I read The 75 Things Men Should Be Able To Do.  (Warning!  All men who read it may will suffer brain damage from the dissonance between truth and horse shit. Any woman who knows men will also find it uncomfortable.)  Esquire puts the bar low and then dives under it. It’s a tragedy I have to live on the same planet with that level of weakness.

Then I read this, this and this.  Plus I stumbled into Robert A. Heinlein who’s variation on the theme is a list for all mankind rather than just the larger hairier half:

“A human being 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.” Time Enough For Love, 1973, Robert A. Heinlein

The game is on.

I present my Abridged List Of Things A Man Should Be Able To Do:

1. Drive. Wheels are wings and men must drive to fly. Driving doesn’t mean point the lever at “D” and keep a minivan between the lines. Chimps and teenagers do that. I mean pilot the machine…well. Men use clutches. Men operate motorcycles, ATVs, tractors, delivery trucks, and forklifts. All men anywhere must always be capable of using a truck for what trucks were meant for. Men tow trailers, handle mountain passes, and maneuver through city traffic.  Men can back up to to a loading dock with that ancient forgotten esoteric skill called using the mirrors. Men drive without a GPS because men can…

2. Read a map. A Boy Scout on foot with a compass is a young man in training. A hulking bodybuilder fiddling with a GPS on the dash of his minivan is… well… disturbing. Reading a map leads a man to…

3. Go outdoors without becoming a flake. A man can traverse his natural environment without paved trails, signs, or a guide. A man can and has started campfires from natural materials. A man can and has slept outside; occasionally without a tent. Men who get lost, take their bearing, get their mental shit together, and endeavor to get un-lost. Men do not call for help unless the wolves are circling and things are very grim. Luckily men rarely get that desperate because they …

4. Are equipped. A man can and has equipped himself for his particular environment; whether that be desert, tundra, or anything in between. I don’t care if you live in a condo in Manhattan…if all you’ve got on your feet are little sneakers to mince around shoveled walks then you’re just a foppish weakling. Speaking of shoveled walks…

5. Men shovel. Dirt, shit, snow. Doesn’t matter. They do it. Why? Because it has to be done. Men do not count on someone else to do their dirty work. This extends to all forms of…

6. Work. Men earn their keep. No man is a net loss to society. Children, college students, pets, and politicians can live fat and largely irrelevant lives because men are out there keeping turnip farms and steel mills functioning. “Work” and “job” are related but not identical. External forces may eliminate your “job” but only you can stop “working”. A man who is temporarily unemployed should be fixing the roof and stacking firewood. If the condition of unemployment stays too long you’re overvaluing yourself. Step back and realize your true value; somewhere there is a ditch that needs digging and you were a shitty banker anyway. Men understand that sometimes civilization gets more benefit from a drainage ditch than a symphony. It is through hard (and intelligent) work that men endeavor to…

7. Keep civilization running. This is a big one. When things break, men fix them. If you reach for the cell phone before you reach for the screwdriver you’re not a man. If a man’s car won’t start he is required by all that is good and holy to look under the hood. Fixing things is not about stuff…it is about maintaining civilization. Sadly, things are merely half of the equation and the other half is a man’s responsibility to…

8. Keep assholes in check. The world has no shortage of assholes.  This has led to war, misery, and degradation. Men want to enjoy freedom and prosperity for themselves and their loved ones. Therefore a man will always try to protect his people. Whoops! Does that make me sound like a knuckle dragging non-PC redneck? Too bad, it’s true. Men do not always succeed; whether evil arrives in the form of Stalin or a carjacker sometimes bad guys win.  But the blessings of the world are moot if we’re at the mercy of assholes and men know that.  I don’t care if you’re a wispy vegan gymnast or a behemoth cage match fighter, if you are a man you hold within you the responsibility to judiciously apply force if it’s necessary and the wisdom to know when that time has arrived.  Few men will ever need to use that ability. That’s the point. They do not need to use it because it is known to be there. Men, especially those who understand the gravity of what I’m saying, do not take their responsibility lightly. Speaking of heavy responsibilities, a man may have to…

9. Raise a child. This is not required. A man may wisely determine that kids are useless snot nosed expenses and buy a bass boat instead. However, once the deal is done and another soul is on this earth, he makes darned sure that his kid isn’t going to be tomorrow’s feral loser. It is not enough to pass on his genes and skip town. Dogs can do that. Children incur obligation. Which relates to the bliss and confusion when a man must…

10. Be a husband. Again this is not required. However once a man gets married he does his best. How does he do this? Damned if I know. I’ve been married forever and have no clue how marriage works. In this I’m absolutely not cutting any slack based on strict legal or religious definition of “married”. If you’ve got an extra toothbrush in the bathroom and it’aint yours you’ve got a job to do.  A gay man in a committed long term relationship may be an admirable “husband”. A straight guy with a string of ex-wives and a history of train wreck relationships is just a childish horndog who is out of his league and should stay aloof lest he cause more pain. Which brings me to a the ability to…

11. Be alone. A man can stand his own company. Humans spend far too much time congregating in groups and chatting loudly about minor transient issues. This is nothing special. Geese do it. A man can and does periodically spend time with his own thoughts.  A man is not frightened by silence.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled program.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
This entry was posted in Wussification and other modern hazards.. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Are We Not Men?

  1. ZerCool says:

    Wandered over from Borepatch’s place. Linked and ‘rolled. Loved this one.

  2. Mike says:

    I had to link this as well. Well done!

  3. Mr. Chubbins says:

    I would add: Master Tools. Weather it’s a gun, wrench, computer or rope thou shall master it. You don’t need to be an expert with it, but you should be able to pick up the tool and use it properly.

  4. GD says:

    /snark/Along with eschewing the pansy GPS doo-hickey in their minivans, real mean should determine their speed by TSD calculations using known distances one-one-thousand second counts… additionally their fuel level should be determined by lifting the back of the vehicle and feeling the change in weight after driving. Clearly only wusses would rely on modern instrumentation. /snark/

    • Fuel gauges are unnecessary. My motorcycle doesn’t have a fuel gauge. I reset the trip odometer at fill up. While rocketing down the freeway I periodically estimate remaining range based on MPG experienced in similar conditions. I do lots of long distance riding and it has become an art and science.

      Now that I think about it; my tractors (from 1941 and 1944 respectively) do not have fuel gauges either.

      By George! You’ve discovered something important! A universal rule! If the manufacturers assume a man is operating the device they don’t necessarily install a gauge. I shall henceforth never trust a man who doesn’t know his fuel condition without a gauge!

    • ZerCool says:

      I use my GPS regularly. It’s a handy device. But I also have a road atlas and keep track of what road I’m on and what exits I’m between. I’m not going to be That Guy who calls 911 and knows only that he’s “somewhere on I90 in Ohio”.

      And whenever I see the “begin measured mile” signs on the interstate, I do start counting. Maybe that’s just being a geek.

      Fuel level doesn’t matter because I know how far I can go on a tank, but more to the point, stop often enough on long trips that it never goes that far down.



  5. Pingback: Blogroll Update | The Adaptive Curmudgeon's Blog

  6. julie says:

    came via way of ZC … i like your list WAY BETTER than that crappy 75 things one … and I’m a woman 🙂

    will blog roll you now 🙂

  7. Pingback: Blogroll Updates | The Adaptive Curmudgeon's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s