Let’s face it; there are two types of men in this world. There are your run of the mill white bread with the crust cut off drinking a Fresca talking about the coupon he has for Bed, Bath and Beyond type and then there are real man. This is the most evolved of the species; skilled, witty, cultured, macho and respected. In an effort to help you, loyal reader, here is a list of skills everyone needs to hone.
Change a Tire
This is a simple skill that every man should know, but a surprising amount of men do not. There is nothing sadder than cruising down the highway by some Chauncey standing on the side of the road while a tow-truck driver is changing the tire on his Jetta. No doubt Johnny AAA is wondering where this guy’s purse is. Changing a tire is simple. They even give you instructions in your vehicle user manual. Even the toughest tire changes should only take you 15 minutes or so to accomplish. Best investments: a four-way tire iron to help get you leverage for any stubborn bolts, a large rubber mallet (occasionally the alloy rims can create a rust lock with the wheel itself and will need to be knocked loose) and a two-ton lever jack. For less than $100 you can have the ultimate roadside survival kit. Bonus points if you travel with a car battery charger.
Changing your oil is not as easy but something you can easily learn how to do. Why pay $20 to some dude when you can save that beer money for yourself? Buy a decent drip pan and a drop cloth if you don’t already possess them (and maybe a bag of sawdust for the inevitable spill). Once you get the hang of it you can do this simple job in 20 minutes. Check out this video below for an easy “how-to” and consult your car manual or online for any details you may need.
Cook a Meal
Every man needs to know how to cook. Man cannot live on frozen pizza and peanut butter alone. Now there is no need to go all Iron Chef on it. Director Robert Rodriguez, he of SinCity, Desperado and Planet Terror fame, has long been a proponent of being able to cook. On his DVD’s there is usually a special feature called 10 Minute Cooking School. His philosophy is to learn four or five recipes you like and are comfortable cooking and master them. Keep these ingredients on hand regularly and when you have a lady friend over so you can impress her all with your culinary prowess. Do not get intimidated by the sanctimonious SOB’s on cooking shows. Those jack-holes act like they’re curing cancer. If you want to really get to be a proficient cook though, spend some dough and buy Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here for the Food. This is the best “how-to” book available. It is simple, straight forward and will teach you the basic techniques needed to cook like a man.
Did he just say sew? Yes he did. Mom isn’t always going to be there to fix everything for you. Ask anyone who has ever sat interviewing prospective employees and they will tell you that little things can make a huge difference between getting the job and continuing to be unemployed. Clean appearance, trimmed finger-nails, pressed clothes all go without saying. But it is the nuances like a nice shine on your shoes that put you over the top. If you are missing a button on your sports coat because you haven’t evolved enough to use your opposable thumbs, you have no business working a job that doesn’t require a nametag and a paper hat. A couple of stitches in the hem of your pants for a quick fix before you go to an important meeting will make a big difference. Shell out a few bucks at the tailor when you need to so your threads look like a million bucks even if it is a Sears special, but be able to make a quick adjustment in emergency situations so you can always give the best impression. Besides it also can come in handy sewing up the gash your drunk, sobbing buddy got in his finger baiting a fishing hook.
A man needs to be able to defend him and those he cares about. A real man doesn’t go around looking for fights just to prove how tough he is, but he can take care of business when business comes knocking (or swinging, or kicking like some fairy ninja). No one is asking you to be Tito Ortiz, but be able to throw an effective punch and restrain a guy so you don’t get hurt. Keep your head up and react quickly to whatever the drunk at the bar throws at you. Chances are all you’ll ever have to do is put him in a headlock and throw him to the ground, establishing your dominance and letting everyone know you take guff from no man.
These five simple skills are key to being a well rounded, self-sufficient guy. Nothing here is difficult to learn. Hell they teach most of this in the Boy Scouts.
Brian J. Glynn is a high functioning derelict who can often be seen changing tires for lesser man and good looking damsels in distress.