It is the weekend when most husbands are preparing for various jobs around the house the next two days. You know, paint the shed, fix the sprinklers, repair the back porch light, neuter the neighbor’s dog, mow the front lawn and so forth. The weekend is when I feel out of place. My father passed away when I was in second grade and soon after my older brother escape to the U.S. Marines and Viet Nam. I spent the next ten formative years of my life with my eccentric mother, my younger sister and a crossed eye bowlegged Cocker Spaniel with the IQ of a Pez Dispenser.
I did not learn the manly art of fixing and rebuilding things. My mother tried, but the only method she had in her arsenal of tools was to bang something with a big rock. Her 58 Mercury had carburetor problems. The forty-seven tons of metal would glide to a halt along side the road and Mom would get out, pry open the hood of the vehicle and ask me to go get her a good rock. A good rock was one a little larger than a grape fruit and slightly smaller than a ripen cantaloupe.I would dig through the side of the road and neighborhood trash piles until I found a nice round heavy rock. Mom would then proceed to beat the holy hell out of the carburetor. I mean she would haul her arm back over her head and slam that rock into that carb over and over, which was a little frightening as her cigarette would occasionally fall out of her mouth. Gas, flame, not good.
Nearly every time the Mercury started right up, I don’t know if it was just flooded and dried out during the beating or it just figured it had better start before she starting rocking the rest of the engine. (A mechanic once asked us why the carb had dents all over it. I just told him hail, which didn’t make sense either, but he stopped asking questions.)
Long story short, whenever something stops working I smack the crap out of it. Computers, TVs, lawn mower, whatever. The odd part is in about half the cases it works. At least for a spell.
I do have skills, but different skills. I know how to sit in silly college classes and play the stupid games necessary to earn a masters degree. Granted, I picked a bullshit subject. Most are. I can manage people. I can look at complicated organizational processes and immediately determine what is wrong and how to right it. I can motivate people who get paid poorly to work as if they aren’t, and I can maneuver through organizational politics with VPs, Deans, Faculty, Administrators and so forth like a marble on slippery glass. I can handle the most crazed and angry customer and turn them into puppy dogs. I can write 17 pages with dozens of pie and bar charts and say absolutely nothing. I can sit in a long boring retarded meeting for three hours and to everyone present appear wide awake and interested.
I can take a 19 minute nap during lunch. No matter where I am.
But if the copy machine or network printer stops working, I am useless after the first blow.
And you know, none of this bullshit gets things done around the house. You can’t BS a garbage disposal. I can’t replace the pipe under the bathroom sink by pretending to be awake,. For instance, right now my wife is calling me because the sliding patio door is stuck again, I have no clue what makes them stick. Luckily, I have a good rock right here on my desk. Gotta get to work! “Coming Hon!”
Some Blogging Guy