With many of us under quarantine and spending more time at home than we could ever imagine, undertaking household projects is at an all-time high.
Instead of hearing the sound of cars whooshing down the road or the dull roar of planes flying overhead, my neighborhood cacophony is the result of chainsaws and hammers.
And with plenty of time on my hands, there are many things I should be doing with my hands to spruce up our domicile.
The patio is overdue for some pressure-washing, and the steps leading up to the porch are begging for a weatherproofing treatment.
My fan cave is in need of a fresh coat of paint, and the door knob leading into it ought to be replaced. Really, I could go into any room in our house and find something to repair.
However, I’m not gonna do any of that stuff because I have not now nor have I ever been what you might call “handy.” In fact, when it comes to that sort of thing, I’m what you might call “stupid.”
I was never mechanically inclined, and never had any inclination to want to be mechanically inclined.
I remember when I was a kid, Pop (my dad) would be down in the driveway working on his car and he’d ask me if I wanted to peer under the hood and watch what he was doing.
I did not.
I viewed cars then as I view cars now – vessels used to get me from one place to another. I didn’t care what they looked like on the inside, didn’t care how they worked – as long as a vehicle transported me, I had all the information I needed.
Once, our old-style television (the kind encased in luxurious wood) stopped working and Pop decided to open it up from the back and see if he could figure out what the problem was. He asked me if I wanted to “help” as he fiddled with the ol’ cathode-ray tubes.
I did not.
Again, all I wanted from the TV was the ability to see “Batman” and “Honey West.” I certainly didn’t want to get all up in its business.
As the years went by my interests started to vary, of course. I went from liking girls to liking women; playing and watching sports to watching and writing about sports; and being obsessed with reading comic books to being obsessed watching movies based on comic books.
At no point, however, have I ever looked at a broken appliance and said, “You know what – I’m gonna grab some tools and fix that bastard.”
Oh, there were times when I felt the need to make an effort. Once I was gifted a gas grill which came completely unassembled. There were nuts and bolts and levers and knobs, and I was only about three pages into the instruction manual when I started gently weeping.
I spent an entire Saturday morning, afternoon and early evening piecing together this monstrosity and once it was finished it looked like a broken Transformers toy.
I named it “Optimus What The Hell” and never even bothered to hook it to a propane tank because that would’ve ended quite horribly.
Years ago I thought I would impress Mary by putting up door blinds. This seemed like a simple enough task, requiring just some screws and brackets.
It took me several hours to get it done but when I was finished the blinds were nice and straight – although I was a little surprised that they didn’t seem to be the right length.
It was only later when Mary came home, opened the door and crashed through the blinds that I discovered they needed to be attached to the door itself, and not to the trim above the door.
Oddly, I do have a savant-like talent for toilets. Give me a toilet ball cock and I’ll have it installed in no time. (First I’ll giggle, though, because “toilet ball cock” is hilarious).
For reasons I’ll never be able to explain, I can take the lid off the tank of a toilet, survey the situation, figure out the problem, and quickly resolve it. I guess you could call me the “Shitter Whisperer.”
Otherwise, if you need a Mr. Fix-It you’ll have to get your fix from another mister, because I ain’t him.
It’s not that I’m too stupid to learn, it’s that I’m too stupid and too uninterested to learn.