Eleven things every guy should have in his life
The Brother-in-Law is a busy dude, but I’ve seen him more often of late since The Wife and I decided to do a little house-hunting.
We were over at his own house the other night — one he built by hand — and as he explained the intricacies of tricking his computer scanner into reading a document at a different setting than what it wanted, all in his very-Southern drawl, I got to marveling at what an innovative guy he is.
Working for the highway department ... a budding contractor who built his own house and has rehabbed countless others ... a realtor with six sales so far this year under his belt — an impressive figure given that it’s a weekend hobby ... every guy needs a brother-in-law like Nick. It got me thinking about the essential things in life every dude should have ...
• ... starting with an industrious brother-in-law. Not only would he be the handiest ally to have ever in the event of the zombie apocalypse, whenever something goes wrong at our house that requires mechanical know-how or ingenuity to repair, the first person I’ll call is Nick. And because he’s family, he has yet to charge me for his services. Fellas, if you’re wife or significant other doesn’t have a brother whose talents lie in areas you don’t possess, you might want to consider an upgrade. Or at the very least, spring for him some karate lessons or home improvement classes at Lowe’s.
• A good brother (or sibling, for that matter). Having been raised with the same background by the same set of parents, my brother doesn’t hunt and, like me, has a better-than-average chance of losing a finger in a routing saw accident were he to attempt to build his own domicile, but Mike does have talents in other areas. If it’s computer issues, Mike gets the call. Plus, it’s as fun to pester him as it was when we were 12 and 9, respectively. No one can take a joke like a brother, and no one is as much fun to partner up with when it comes to activities like coaching a youth soccer team.
• A good dog. We have three, and two of them — as well as all the cats — prefer The Wife. Jack is my boy, and while describing him as “good” is about the same as calling the Tea Party “moderate,” he’s still a faithful hound. No matter how much he gets on my nerves, there’s something gratifying about an animal that wants nothing more than to flop into your lap, let out a deep sigh and sleep. Even if he does weigh 90 pounds.
• A good sandwich. When it comes to food, most guys aren’t picky; give us a choice, however, and most of the fellas I know will choose a sandwich every time. (Caveat: Right after The Wife’s chicken cordon bleu, that is.) A genuine sandwich — fresh, filling and more satisfying than just about anything you can put in your mouth — rivals a good Scotch or whiskey, for you drinking mean. And like liquor, there are a lot of pale imitators out there. Fortunately, Tomato Head serves up the best sandwich in the known universe, the one and only Oh Boy. The secret? Two words: Benton’s bacon. And as anyone, guy or girl, will tell you, bacon makes everything better.
• A good grill. Not to paint us all as stereotypical oafs in the kitchen, but let’s face it: If there’s a woman in our lives, there’s a 75 percent chance she’s a better cook than we are. A grill, however, levels the playing field, and it allows us to get in touch with our primal caveman. A slab of meat and fire — how much more manly can you get?
• A good mechanic. For those of us who don’t know a carburetor from a refrigerator, a brother-in-law can put on brakes or change the oil, if need be, but you don’t want to seem like a helpless toadstool, calling him up for everything you’re unable to do yourself. Besides, even the savviest of brothers-in-law are challenged by big projects that involve breaking down the engine or pulling out the dash. Every guy needs a mechanic he can trust, and Keith Yearout, owner of Service Plus Automotive in Blount County, is my guy — honest, fair and reliable. If Keith can’t fix it, you might as well set your vehicle on fire and collect the insurance, because it’s toast anyway.
• Pocketknife. You never know when you’ll need to shank somebody, or cut a string off your shoe. I go with a Gerber stainless steel 3-inch folding knife.
• Jumper cables. Nothing comes in more handy, for yourself or for the purpose of being a good Samaritan, than a set of jumper cables in the trunk of one’s car.
• A mentor. Any guy who thinks he knows it all is a fool; every guy who’s still willing to reach out and ask for advice or suggestions is open to learning new things and growing as an individual. I call mine a sponsor, but it amounts to the same thing: Someone whose wisdom and guidance you can rely on for issues great and small.
• A best friend. Sometimes you need someone who’s not family yet still has your back like a brother. I’ve been pals with mine for more than two decades, and we still act like a couple of moronic teens when we get together. Life is better with a best pal you can hang around with and do nothing.
• And last ... but most importantly ... a good woman. The Wife isn’t just my other half, she’s my partner. She makes me want to be a better dude, and at the end of the day, there’s not a sandwich or a grill or a dog I’d rather have in my life over her.
Of course, I could go on and on with this list — a good relationship with my parents and a mother-in-law who treats me like a flesh-and-blood son certainly belong on there, but alas, space is limited. Besides, there’s plenty on this list for you boys who have some checking-off to do. Get started, and watch your life improve.
Steve Wildsmith is the Weekend editor for The Daily Times. Contact him at (firstname.lastname@example.org) or at 981-1144.