October 06, 2008


i can has man skilz

According to the editors at Popular Mechanics, you just ain't a completely competent man until you can perform the following 80 "essential skills," plus own the 20 tools listed. A hat tip to Grapes for the link and the following format - bold items add to my manliness, whilst asterisk-ed* items are WTF? for either I don't know what the hell this is or I can't possibly see this as essential (some qualify for all three designations). Additional snarkiness appears in fuschia.


1. Handle a blowout
2. Drive in snow
3. Check trouble codes
4. Replace fan belt
5. Wax a car * ???
6. Conquer an off-road obstacle * would temporarily disabling it count?
7. Use a stick welder *
8. Hitch up a trailer
9. Jump start a car

Handling Emergencies

10. Perform the Heimlich
11. Reverse hypothermia
12. Perform hands-only CPR I'm pretty good with my feet also
13. Escape a sinking car


14. Carve a turkey * I suck at this
15. Use a sewing machine * I did take sewing in Jr. High
16. Put out a fire
17. Home brew beer * I'd love to learn, but essential?
18. Remove bloodstains from fabric * Bleach, right? Besides, blood is manly!
19. Move heavy stuff
20. Grow food
21. Read an electric meter *
22. Shovel the right way * ??? Shovel what?
23. Solder wire
24. Tape drywall *
25. Split firewood
26. Replace a faucet washer
27. Mix concrete * Aren’t instructions on the bag?
28. Paint a straight line *
29. Use a French knife * Qu'est-ce que c'est?
30. Prune bushes and small trees * Get real!
31. Iron a shirt
32. Fix a toilet tank flapper
33. Change a single-pole switch
34. Fell a tree
35. Replace a broken windowpane
36. Set up a ladder, safely But it's much more manly to do it dangerously
37. Fix a faucet cartridge * I don't know what this is
38. Sweat copper tubing No sweat
39. Change a diaper Yeah, baby!
40. Grill with charcoal It's not grilling if you don't!
41. Sew a button on a shirt
In a half-assed sort of way, yeah
42. Fold a flag*

Medical Myths I do need to get my First Aid card renewed

43. Treat frostbite

44. Treat a burn
45. Help a seizure victim
46. Treat a snakebite
47. Remove a tick

Military Know-How

48. Shine shoes
49. Make a drum-tight bed * Not me, no siree
50. Drop and give the perfect pushup
* Just one? Sure!


51. Run rapids in a canoe*
52. Hang food in the wild
53. Skipper a boat
Though I'd much rather Gilligan
54. Shoot straight*
I'm pretty honest most of the time, though
55. Tackle steep drops on a mountain bike
* Fun, but essential?
56. Escape a rip current Got me here

Primitive Skills

57. Build a fire in the wilderness
58. Build a shelter
59. Find potable water

Surviving Extremes

I'm going to claim these on the grounds that success is a combination of preparedness and common sense

60. Floods
61. Tornados
62. Cold
63. Heat
64. Lightning

Teach Your Kids

65. Cast a line
66. Lend a hand * ?
67. Change a tire
68. Throw a spiral
* I mean really...
69. Fly a stunt kite * See above
70. Drive a stick shift
71. Parallel park
72. Tie a bowline
73. Tie a necktie
74. Whittle
* Again, really?
75. Ride a bike


76. Install a graphics card *
77. Take the perfect portrait *
78. Calibrate HDTV settings *
79. Shoot a home movie *
80. Ditch your hard drive * ???

Master Key Workshop Tools

81. Drill driver
82. Grease gun
83. Coolant hydrometer
84. Socket wrench
85. Test light
86. Brick trowel*
87. Framing hammer
88. Wood chisel
89. Spade bit* Is this a shovel (and is there a right way to use it)?
90. Circular saw
91. Sledge hammer
92. Hacksaw
93. Torque wrench * Aw, just fudge it (snap)!
94. Air wrench
Which would also require a compressor
95. Infrared thermometer *
96. Sand blaster *
97. Crosscut saw *
98. Hand plane * File the last four under "gimme a break"
99. Multimeter
100. Feeler gauges *

At the risk of seeming sexist, it was upon number 15 that I considered why this is exclusively a list of skills for men. I can personally attest to how much more wonderful life would be if my better half could perform nos. 9, 32 and 67.

I am surprised by the number of things that the editors considered essential to manhood. To choose the most ridiculous one would be hard, but I'd say that car waxing, meter reading, bush pruning, flag folding, mountain biking, football spiraling, whittling and all the ones listed under "technology" suffice for the definition.

In the comments section of the article were a few good suggested replacements such as knowing how to swim and how to use map and compass, though that is fast becoming obsolete in the satellite age.

Lastly, I must credit the Boy Scouts for influencing a major portion of what I'd consider an impressive if debatable showing of my manliness.


Labels: , ,

What number is cry like a baby as Soriano chases strike three into the dirt with a slider that's low and away?
Must I do everything?
"17. Home brew beer * I'd love to learn, but essential?"

Ha. You'll be pounding on my door when civilization takes the final nosedive.
Where is "Locate the 'man in the boat'"?
"You'll be pounding on my door when civilization takes the final nosedive."

I may only be able to rap weakly, Joe, being so parched after walking 1,365 miles.
Hey, you'll get a chance to practice your "Mad Max" skills by driving. :-)

I'm a Jewish guy, so these are the things I can do well:

* Make money
* Eat pussy
* Deal with electronics and computers
* Play cards
* Make drug paraphernalia out of anything
* Score drugs anywhere
* Play scrabble, chess, etc.
* Read
* Write
* Do math
* Speak in public
* Find my way around big cities
* Take long naps
* Speak English and Spanish fluently and know enough of 5 others to be able to have a laugh in a bar


10. Perform the Heimlich
14. Carve a turkey
16. Put out a fire
21. Read an electric meter
32. Fix a toilet tank flapper
39. Change a diaper
40. Grill with charcoal
47. Remove a tick

I can teach a kid to:

65. Cast a line
68. Throw a spiral
71. Parallel park
73. Tie a necktie
74. Whittle
75. Ride a bike
76. Install a graphics card

...42. Fold a flag* [HA HA HA NO WAY!]
but, O'T:

Other than the teaching a kid to do stuff and saving someone with the Heimlich, my skill set is much, much, much more valuable than the >80 MANLY MURKIN skill set for sure.
Damn... sounds like I need me a Jewish man if those are his skills. Except for the drug part, I figured that out in my early years, not much fun anymore. Good stories though.

Jen.... your comment made me giggle.
It occurs to me, after a dicey lack of H2O service over the weekend, that "pipe wrench" could be substituted for just about anything on the tools list.

In light of that: no, my sweet baboo you mustn't do everything, but it would make me feel a lot better if you could handle the two simple automotive tasks. I would trade my labor on a thousand tank flappers to know you (and possibly our golden peanut) were in capable tire changing/jump starting hands.
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