Blessed Are The Unhandy…

…for they shall learn to depend upon the charity of others.

If mechanical aptitude and general handiness are heritable traits, then they are present in my family only as the most recessive of genes. My siblings and I would be among the last picked on a construction site. We have a working knowledge of basic hand tool use and light bulb replacement, but not much else. Collectively, the six of us boast plenty of academic degrees and professional success. Ask any of us to help hang drywall or panel a basement, though, and we’re about as useful as a metric wrench on a domestic car.

Speaking as the only married male of the group, I can attest to the emasculating effect of this deficiency. You live with your spouse in a house that, inevitably, requires maintenance in order to remain sound. Other husbands are visible scurrying about their properties making improvements, replacing shingles on the roof, applying a fresh coat of asphalt to the driveway, putting in a new front door, or lugging an old toilet out to the curb having successfully installed its replacement. Then your wife looks at you and asks what might be done about the handrail to the living room stairs, the bottom of which has wobbled like a tuning fork ever since a replacement screw broke off in the anchor block when you tried to put the railing back on after painting the wall five years ago. You shrug your shoulders impotently and hope that she’s still won over by your positive qualities, because knowing what to do with that stair railing sure as hell isn’t one of them. If only there were a man in the house… Read More

The Reluctant Athlete


If gloves could talk…this one wouldn’t have much to say.

“You want me to play softball in a prison?” I asked incredulously.

“I know,” said Brian in a calm tone that resonated with sympathy and reassurance.  We both knew that my objection had little to do with the unusual venue, and it was painfully obvious that he was desperate for players.  So desperate, in fact, that he was approaching one of the last people you would want to ask if you wanted to forge a decent softball team.  My brother tried to bolster his sincerity with a smile, but he could barely suppress a laugh as he tried to entice me by adding, “It’ll be fun!”

“Yeah, fun,” I grumbled.  Brian belonged to a service organization that not only did the occasional good thing for the community but also participated in a recreational softball league.  Scheduling a game against the inmates of our local minimum-security prison was a way to join the two vocations.  Unfortunately, only a handful of members had signed up for the opportunity.  Joining Brian in this endeavor would be the noble thing to do, but it would require a complete consumption of my pride.  It was akin to taking a willing dive into a pool of embarrassment.  “Let me think about it.” Read More

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