I Would Thump My Chest But I Bruise Easily…

Posted: February 2, 2013 in Anecdotes
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

American writer Ernest Hemingway said that there are four paths to becoming a man. They are:

  • Fight a bull
  • Plant a tree
  • Father a son
  • Write a book

Whether or not he meant this as some sort of rite of passage or he was just finding some filler for his journal in between Mai Tais is probably not known. Or: it is known quite well and lazy research skills have prevented me from digging out the answer. I blame those Mai Tais.

But I’d like to add a fifth item to that list. One that has been a bit elusive to me until recently but has, conveniently, been easier to accomplish than the above four: owning a tool box.

Owning tools and a toolbox is probably the closest many modern men get to sharpening a sword or wearing a piece of armour. See, fighting a bull is an explosively macho pastime but most blokes are as comfortable with the idea of being a matador as they are about talking openly to a nurse about their sphincter’s slow shutter speed. So unless we’re willing to go to war (murder is so badass!) the next best option for us is handy work.


Nope. Can’t see any Freudian compensation going on here…

But even that doesn’t quite cut it for people like me. I know about as much about hammering in nails as I do about breeding cucumbers. But I still have a tool box and a socket set in my room that I like to get out on occasion and waft around in the faces of lesser mortals. Have I used it? Yes. With foreknowledge? Surprisingly, yes. But I’m as disgustingly as un-handyman-like as any man can be. I can flex and grunt all I want but no one’s buying it. And it’s mainly because I use my toolkit for computer related diagnostics. Ask me to put a shelf up or piece a bicycle back together and you’ll never see my middle finger go up so fast.

But that doesn’t stop me from feeling like a man. A manly man-type. Rooting through my 42-piece socket set and my selection of screwdrivers gives me a wonderfully brief sense of potential. Like, I know that if something does need fixing around the house then I at least have the tools to get the job done. My skills in fixing it will come quickly into question but I can at least stand at the focal point of the issue with my toolkit on the floor, pointing at it with a smile on my face as if to say “See that…that’s manly stuff that is.”


“Can I go back to drinking these now?”

I think that’s what makes me feel so ruggish and ‘GRRRRRR!’ It’s the idea that I can come to the rescue when minor incidents occur around the house and – with gusto – confront the issue with a scratchy beard and chewing tobacco. Okay it may be so far removed from killing a dragon that it’s more closely related to being a ballet recital but if you give me a turkey leg and a flagon of mead to hold the illusion will be complete.

Leave a comment. Grrrrrr.

  1. Do you remember “Tim the Toolman Taylor” on TV?

    I think a toolbox is to a man as a sewing box is to a woman.

    (PS like the look of the drink)

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