Guys and the dumb things we do for convenience
It occurred to me, standing on a swivel office chair on wheels to change a lightbulb the other day, that guys do dumb things for the sake of convenience.
All’s well that ends well, but at one point, I couldn’t help but pause and think, “Hey, there’s a column idea. Why do we do dumb things like this?”
At the moment, the chair was tilting to the left, and I felt like I was riding a unicycle. I had a lightbulb in the hand with which I was unscrewing the cap of the overhead in the bonus room and a pocket knife in my other, digging at a nut that was wound too tight against the bolt holding the light to the ceiling.
I could have easily gotten the stepladder from the garage on which to stand, and retrieved a wrench from my toolbox with which to loosen the bolt. But no; I grabbed the nearest elevated surface (the chair) and used the tool I had on me (the knife). Fortunately, the chair didn’t slide out from beneath me. I didn’t lose my balance and fall onto the knife. I didn’t accidentally jam the blade into the light socket and electrocute myself.
All in all, the task was accomplished quickly. Which only serves to encourage future dumb acts.
The Wife didn’t say anything; in fact, I don’t think anyone even noticed except for one of the dogs, who stared up at me as if to say, “Even I wouldn’t do that, stupid human.” (Now that I think about it, I’m grateful the hounds didn’t knock the chair out from under me, too.) As far as she’s concerned, the lightbulb was out and needed changing, and she didn’t have to do it. For the most part, the ladies in our lives aren’t too concerned with our numbskullery.
But the fact remains that we take our lives in our hands every day. When I stop and think about all of the dumb things I do simply because I’m in too big of a hurry to take proper precautions or too lazy to do so, I’m shocked that I’ve made it almost 42 years on this planet. In fact, I barely made it 5 minutes before I did something else similarly asinine.
I’d just finished breakfast — blackberries (purchased at the Maryville Farmers Market, I might add) over waffles. Delicious, except for the blackberry seed stuck in my back molar. I pushed on it with my tongue while I rinsed my plate, then spied a steak knife sitting on the counter. What did I do? You guessed it — inserted steak knife into mouth and used it as a makeshift toothpick.
And the thing is, the toothpicks were sitting in a drawer not 12 inches from where the knife was.
I tell ya, idiocy. And I swear, I’m not the only one. I called my brother-in-law this afternoon while the topic was on my mind. “Nick,” I say, “we do a lot of dumb things for the sake of convenience.”
“Yep,” he agreed. Given that the man can build houses, raise cattle, sell real estate and pave roads, I’d say he’s damn near an expert on the topic. After all, the man owns more tools than I ever will, is handier around the house than I’ll ever be and is my go-to guy when home repairs are beyond my capabilities. An example from his own recent past: “My washer tore up; it wouldn’t go into the spin cycle, so therefore it wouldn’t drain. After studying on possible causes, I narrowed it down to two possibilities: One, the pump was clogged with something, which would mean tearing the whole washer apart, or two, the door switch is bad, which costs $100 but is simple to change. I opted to buy the switch, which was non-refundable, rather than investigate the situation better. The thing ended up having a bra pad stuck in the pump.”
There are more thorough men out there, I’m sure ... men of deliberation, men who size up problems from all angles before deciding on a course of action that’s both safe and effective. And then there are those of us — like Nick and myself and probably 90 percent of guys I know — who charge in fast and furious, determined to get it done as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Most of the time, as in the case of the lightbulb or the knife-as-toothpick scenarios, things turn out just fine. We don’t suffer any consequences, and so the next time we need to clean out the gutters but don’t have a ladder, we’ll end up propping a barstool against the corner of the deck and using it to climb up onto the roof. And if that turns out OK and we don’t break our fool necks, we’ll only be further encouraged to do something else even dumber.
Ladies, it’s a wonder that you have partners of the opposite sex with which to procreate the species. Perhaps this column comes as no surprise ... in fact, it wouldn’t surprise me whatsoever if many of you have a betting pool going as to just how your husbands/boyfriends/partners will wind up in the hospital with one or more broken bones ... but for those of you who never pay attention to the dumb things we do, I’m sure by now you’re shocked and horrified.
And, I hope, a little bit grateful. After all, we’re risking our necks to do the things you can’t do or don’t want to do. We’re on the front lines of the domestic battles that must be waged, and we gladly do these things for the sake of peace and harmony in the household.
Just don’t be surprised the next time we do so if we wind up flat on our broken back with a steak knife hanging out of one cheek.
Steve Wildsmith is the Weekend editor for The Daily Times. Contact him at (email@example.com) or at 981-1144.