On One Hand

October 3, 2004

Masculine Ingenuity

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 12:47 am
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Installed by thousands upon thousands of years of evolution, there is a resource that every man, gay or straight, has in his head to get him through the through periods of extreme adversity. It’s the part of the brain where brute force is the dominant thought process, the animalistic instinct that overcomes resourcefulness, and the fight in fight or flight. I would argue that human beings could not survive as a species if half of the population did not have it. I call this resource masculine ingenuity. If a man’s wife is trying to remove a key that is stuck in a lock, she might jiggle it lightly, and failing that, sigh in exasperation and jiggle some more. It is masculine ingenuity that makes a man pound the door with his fist and rip the key out of the lock. If a wheel barrow’s wheel gets stuck while carrying a load of wet cement down a grassy hill, a woman might take the available bucket and shovel and lighten the load. It’s masculine ingenuity that tells a man to kick the wheelbarrow down the hill when it won’t roll, spilling the contents all over the lawn but at least getting the job done. Today I needed such ingenuity.

It happened when I was trying to fix something to eat. I opened the cabinet and got out a can of refried beans and a can opener. Without warning, something clinked off of the can opener and rolled under the oven. I hoped it was just some useless extra part, but then the whole can opener disassembled itself in my hands. Try as I might, I could not get the can opener to function without the missing piece. Thats when my masculine ingenuity came to life. Slowly but surely, the the part of my brain that I call upon under such dire circumstances made the rest of my mind aware of its presence as a resource. Though I don’t exercise it as often as other men do, my masculine ingenuity proved to be in good heath and fully functional, and told me exactly how to respond to the situation.

I looked under the oven and couldn’t see anything, but I knew the missing piece of the can opener was down there, and would be retrievable if I could just find something that would fit under the stove. Fumbling around with a butter knife, I determined the missing piece was more toward the back of the oven, because I was pushing the butter kife as far back as it would reach I and I still couldn’t fish anything out. In response to this, I threw the whole butter knife under the oven to see if I could get anything to bounce out. It didn’t work. I was down one butter knife. Can of beans: one, Matt: zero.

But I needed my damn refried beans! During the day I already had already eaten too much of everything available: four eggs, a cup of boiled carrots, two baked potatoes, and a swig of hot sauce just to see what it would taste like, some cheese, and an oversized bowl of oatmeal. There was no way I was going to eat more eggs or potatoes, and I didn’t want a second bowl of oatmeal. I had to get the beans out if I was going to eat, and I was hungry. Unsure of what to do, I again resorted to masculine ingenuity: if I couldn’t cleanly cut the can open with the dysfunctional can opener, maybe I could bash the can open with its heavy metal handle. I tried the plan, and it worked. The smooth surface of the can was soon riddled with gaping pits of torn, peeled metal, through which I could scoop the beans out with a spoon. If a woman had me doing that, she might have said Oh no, Matt, you could have cut yourself on the sharp edges of the can! I suppose this concern could be valid, but my desperation speaks louder than such reason. To it I respond: Yes, I was aware of the risk, and bravely take it. As it turns out, I only cut myself a little, and hardly any blood got in the beans.

And that’s how I got dinner.

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1 Comment »

  1. How about pulling the oven out from its slot, or pulling that drawer under the oven out and getting the piece that way.

    Comment by tempur_tempur — October 4, 2004 @ 6:30 pm | Reply


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