Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What a Man's Gotta Do

Recently, Popular Mechanics published a distinctly odd list of Skills Every Man Should Know. Some are good ones, but..

Extend your wireless network?

Retouch digital photos?? (I can, by the way).

I don't think there are many capsizing boats within 75 miles.

Bolt action rifle? Why not, for instance, an auto pistol?

Nothing about cooking?

I won't even touch the feminist issue, for most of these should be good for either sex. Many commentors do, anyway.

The brilliant Yankee curmudgeon who writes at Sippican Cottage, under the heading of "You never met a man. Stop writing about them", listed his own simple rules:

1. Know how to do whatever the hell you feel like doing
2. Learn how to take your lumps for doing #1

Myself, I always like Heinlein's (unisex) set:

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

And then there are the various "Cowboy Codes", which I also enjoy-- maybe because I know several men and at least one woman who still embody them. Here's one.

"Remove your guns before sitting at the dining table."

"No matter how weary and hungry you are after a long day in the saddle, always tend to your horse's needs before your own, and get your horse some feed before you eat."

And another, this one a shade less serious:

"Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance."


"If it don’t seem like it’s worth the effort, it probably ain’t."

I'll add a pic later of friend and "cousin"-- long tale-- Sissy Pound Olney, female cowboy ("I am NOT a cowgirl!"), first female brand inspector in the US, rancher, mother, houndswoman, lion hunter, and early admirer of Cormac McCarthy. I could tell more stories-- how her mother, who is made of the same stuff, shocked a Texan friend of mine when we arrived at a ranch barbecue thirty miles off the pavement by declaring herself broken- hearted that Bruce Chatwin had died-- but this is getting too long for now.


Matt Mullenix said...

This is not directly related to your post but to one part of it (horse care): Every night I hunt, I come home wet, tired, dirty, bloody, hungry, thirsty, itchy, grass-stained and covered in seeds.

My first impulse is to run inside for a cold beer and a hot shower. But what stops me every time is the old saying, "First the hawk, then the horse, then the hound; then and only then the lowly falconer."

I actually have to say it...

No horse to worry about (unless the truck counts), but the hawk and hound get cleaned, watered and put to bed first.

Steve Bodio said...

That's funny-- I almost put that saying in!

Mark said...

I live by this one also. And some evenings I, too, say it out loud just to force myself into compliance. Reminds me of another saying, about ethics being "what you do when no one is watching".