What happened to all the ‘manly’ men?

Question: What is more sad and pathetic than the sight of an able bodied average American guy standing next to his car on the side of the road with a flat tire, cell phone to his ear calling AAA to come rescue him?

The answer: nothing.
What happened to us formerly red blooded, All-American guys over the last few decades? Have we guys all become helpless weenies? A nation chock full of what Arnold Schwartzenegger would call ‘girly men?’ Maybe so. I drew this cartoon above a few years ago after reading an article from Popular Mechanics, whose editors compiled a list of the basic skills that they deemed every American guy should possess, and it appears below.

Read it and weep:

1. Patch a radiator hose
2. Protect your computer
3. Rescue a boater who has capsized
4. Frame a wall
5. Retouch digital photos
6. Back up a trailer
7. Build a campfire
8. Fix a dead outlet
9. Navigate with a map and compass
10. Use a torque wrench
11. Sharpen a knife
12. Perform CPR
13. Fillet a fish
14. Maneuver a car out of a skid
15. Get a car unstuck
16. Back up data \
17. Paint a room
18. Mix concrete
19. Clean a bolt-action rifle
20. Change oil and filter
21. Hook up an HDTV
22. Bleed brakes
23. Paddle a canoe
24. Fix a bike flat
25. Install a wireless router system.

When I read this list, I agreed that most of these are all skills that fathers used to teach their sons in days gone by, and I scored a perfect 100%. But I am an old guy, with perhaps tired old notions of self reliance, determination and a willingness to get your hands dirty from time to time. In that bygone era, dads used to take their 10-year old boys out in the back yard and show them how to build a tree house. That right of passage taught young boys many skills to include using hand tools, planning, organization, safety and pride in workmanship.

Sadly, those days are gone thanks to several factors such as advances in technology, and the slow and steady urbanization of the country. Most folks don’t have backyards with substantial trees able to support any kind of tree house anymore unless they are out in the country. And even if they do, they have busy body home owners associations keeping their eyes peeled for these unsightly tree houses, those images of Americana now lost to our modern sensibilities. Rather than make excuses for why guys are turning into helpless losers, I suggest that this trend need not continue.

Take a long, hard look at this list, guys. If there are a few things here that you don’t have a clue as to how to proceed, man up. Find out how, and go do it. If you can’t start a campfire, then you have no business calling yourself a guy anymore. Just turn in your man card, and we will scratch you off of the man list, and don’t bother coming to the man meetings anymore. And one final thing: change your name to Shirley. Or Pam.

(re posted from a few years ago due to popular demand)

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