A wheel of my push mower fell off. It had been wobbly for a while and, in the great tradition of manliness established by so many proud Americans before me, I ignored it and hoped it would go away.
It did go away. It rolled across the yard.
“That’s not good,” I said, using another of the great tenets of manliness, which is stating the obvious even when alone. This is because, as every real man knows, someone is always watching – even if we can’t see them.
One of a man’s greatest fears, apart from the world running out of Slim Jims, biker magazines and cheerleaders, is that a wormhole might open and someone in another dimension might see us do something stupid. And what’s our recourse? I mean, how can you punch someone in another dimension?
I killed the engine and looked at the mower. Yep, I could tell the wheel was definitely gone because: 1) it was no longer on the mower, and 2) I could see the wheel sticking out of the neighbor’s grass.
I tipped the mower to its side to get a better look, but I should have known better. Under the “You smelt it, you dealt it Principle,” whoever notices a problem has to fix the problem. I saw a hole in the mower where the wheel should be. A big hole. A big rusty hole. So, under Guy Law, I had to fix it.
Hmm, I thought. Maybe I shouldn’t have left the lawnmower outside all summer.
The disemmowered wheel didn’t look any better. The nut was fused to a bolt that was now more rust than metal. So, fulfilling my role as man, I left the mower sitting in the middle of a partially mowed lawn and went inside to watch sports. As I sat on the couch drinking beer, I realized I’d made a lot of zigzags as I mowed, so I hope I hadn’t spelled anything dirty.
A lesser man would have asked, “Should I just buy a new mower? A better one? One with four wheels?”
I fixed the mower the next day. Why? Because that’s what guys do.
A power drill, some wrenches, a couple of bolts, a domino-sized strip of metal and after a few damnits, I finished mowing the lawn.
Compared to not fixing things, fixing things ranks pretty highly on the Things that make Guys Guys list. Actually, not fixing things, then fixing them, then belittling your accomplishment, then bragging about it ranks the highest – only if it makes someone else cry/feel in awe of you.
So, the next time something mechanical breaks down, or your wife wants you to watch anything with Kate Hudson. Just remember, you’re a man. Act like one and do nothing about it … until you’re good and ready.
Copyright 2008 by Jason Offutt
Jason’s book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to the Show-Me State’s Most Spirited Spots,” is available from amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com or tsup.truman.edu. Visit Jason’s Web site, www.jasonoffutt.com, for his other books.