Monday, July 20, 2009

The Man’s Man and the Modern Man

Men from generations past are much different than the ones today.

For example, my Dad was a mixture of Dwayne F. Schneider , Rambo, and MacGyver. He could fix just about anything with duct tape, the Swiss army knife on his key chain, and if needed the clothes on his back.
One time our car broke down and he used his own belt to substitute the broken engine belt. It lasted just long enough to go get ice cream and then pull into the car shop – our garage.

He looked down on people that used things like, AAA, power tools, mechanics, air-conditioning, or bottled water ("use the water hose!")

Now that I’m older and a Dad, well I get pretty excited when I can hang a picture on the wall straight. And I do it only so I can use the leveler app on my iPhone. I love that app. And I love my friends at AAA.
I’m not anywhere near as handy as my Dad especially given my track record the past few years – fixing that broken toilet (story link here) which is still kind of broken but I’ve learned to live with the hissing. And the time I changed the oil in my car (story link here) with assistance.

My iPhone now has a pretty good handyman on voice controlled speed dial. I programmed it - wait for the beep and say “iPhone, get me the handyman on the phone… now!” and it does. And then I say, “Now continue playing more Depeche Mode songs” and it does.

My daughter just got a bike for her birthday and the little girl next door got one on the same weekend too. So two other Dads’ and me were outside on the driveway trying to put these things together with no luck for about an hour. Why 1,200 pieces is beyond me! They might as well just pack the box with raw sheet metal, flower stickers, and pink paint.
Anyhow there we all were, me with my iPhone looking up the manufactures website to send a complaint email, and the other guys with all sorts of tools spread out all over the ground. Some still in fancy cases all shiny and new, perfectly organized by size, make, and color.
After I sent my complaint email, I looked up and realized how mortified my Father would have been if he were around.

“What's wrong with all of you!? AND with tools that are organized and NOT just thrown in a paper bags and jars? Bunch of communists!”
He probably would have run us all over in his 1978 truck still being held together with a roll of duct tape.

I felt ashamed.

Ashamed for not knowing what to do. Ashamed for not paying attention more to my Dad when I was growing up. Ashamed that these guys were my neighbors. Ashamed that my child is growing up without a Dad that can to put a simple 1,200 piece bicycle together in 12 minutes flat like the instructions say it should. Ashamed because the happy little girl pictured on the box probably has a Dad that put that bike together with raw sheet metal and pink paint in his sleep.

“Stop!” I yelled to the other guys. Then after the beep I shouted, “iPhone, get me the handyman on the phone… now!”

"Daddy attached the stickers!"


Whirlwind said...

They didn't offer you to pre assemble the bike for an extra $10 at the store?

Hope she likes her bike!

SciFi Dad said...

Sweet ride.

I too am part of the "call the handyman" generation. I have a couple of friends who learned that stuff from their fathers, and I call on them sometimes, but honestly that usually means having them (and their wife, who doesn't necessary get along as well with my wife, and kids, who may not be my daughter's age) over for an afternoon and dinner. By the time all is said and done, it's just cheaper to pay someone to come in and change that faucet or light fixture.

Artist Unplugged said...

Oh the shame!!!!! Amazing, we have the same thing happening here at our know what did it, go ahead say it! Okay, I will, women's lib! I'm the one that puts things together around here.

Anonymous said...

Too funny!

James (SeattleDad) said...

I hear ya. I am having my basement redone, and my father who can build anything stopped by to take a look. Made me ashamed I wasn't doing it myself.

But then again, time is a valuable commodity.

for a different kind of girl said...

You know, I respect greatly that you're a man who knows when he must ask for help. I also find that Depeche Mode is an excellent beat for hammering. Not that I hammer much, but any reason to listen to Depeche Mode is a good reason.

Amrita said...

Oh yeah, the postmodern Dad. But you finally got the stickers together, looks good to ride.

I like your photo LOL.

Jenn said...

I am so lucky to be married to a handyman, but I worry about my Of the four of them, only one shows any interest or aptitude for getting stuff together. (Or rather, taking it all apart!)

Arjun Sen said...

Isnt it true! I just discovered your blog and am loving reading through your posts! I've just begun a blog about my own adventures with my daughter(and challenges many dads face), appropriately titled Raising a Father :) (

Dad Stuff said...

I have no natural handiness either, but I do like to follow the directions a kit of some sort. But when something doesn't quite fit where it's suppose to, I can usually jury rig it to fit worse.

carrie said...

Have you seen the "McGruver" skits on SNL?

This reminded me of those, except without the inevitable explosion at the end. And, for the record, the iPhone is the modern man's toolbox.

mama speak said...

Dude, your dad totally would've paid the $10 for TRU to put it together! If it was made in China or Sweden, it's a lost cause. ;-)
That's what I did (cause I love my hubby & wanted to keep our weekend together.)

FilmFather said...

I can totally relate to this. My dad is amazing with his hands and his do-it-yourself mentality -- and yes, looking back, I should've paid more attention to how he fixed and built things, even the more common stuff.

But like James said: In our era of parenting, time is a valuable commodity. So if spending a couple bucks to have someone do a job of mine means I get to spend a little more time with my kids, so be it...though I've made a promise to myself to teach my boys everything that I did learn from my father.

The Real Mother Hen said...

My dad has never been a handyman - he can't even change a light bulb, but he will gladly pay someone else to do it for him. Nope, never seen him with a hammer.