So Popular Mechanics recently posted a list of one hundred skills every man should have. Predictably the usual suspects have gotten all over the comments section, these skills don't apply to me, why isn't it for men and women, blah blah blah. As if everything written everywhere has to be appropriate for everyone. Whatever, there are some skills that some people, like me for instance, simply expect men to have. Not to say women cannot have them, they just don't have to.
Of course, I had a few objections over some of the included list and would have added a few different things. Since I don't really feel like blogging about politics, I've decided to make my own list with theirs as a starting point.
I'll start by outlining what I'd specifically object to and why.
"Using a stick welder." Certainly a useful skill, but your average automotive maintenance task won't require it. To wit, I've never used one and I've done all kinds of things to/for various vehicles, including Humvees and 800+ foot Navy vessels.
"Use a sewing machine." Not so much that I object to men needing to know how to sew, but it doesn't have to be a machine. I've mended all kinds of tears, rents, etc and sewed on uniform patches and never used a sewing machine. Hand sewing is FINE.
"Home brew beer." Again, a nice thing to know, but not really necessary or expected.
"Change a single pole switch." If every man knew how to safely work on a home's electrical wiring, then electricians would soon be out of work. Besides, being able to safely work with wiring is a professional skill, not something just anyone can do.
The 'Military' skills listed; "Shine shoes," "Make a drum tight bed," and "Drop and do a perfect pushup," seems largely unnecessary in normal life. Sure, I can do all three simultaneously...asleep, but I was actually in the military. I'd think a reasonably well made bed and the ability to shine dress shoes would be good enough.
"Skipper a boat." Maybe operate small watercraft I could agree with, but actual skippering requires USCG certifications, etc. Seems a bit much.
"Tackle steep drops on a mountain bike." Why? Seriously. If you DO mountain bike, then yeah, obviously, but otherwise, wtf?
Under teach your kids; "Throw a spiral," and "Fly a stunt kite." Again, why? Maybe your kids don't like football and kites? How about "Be able to teach your kids to do the things you both enjoy?" I could get behind that. I'm teaching mine Jujitsu and how to shoot.
"Calibrate HDTV settings." How about a more broad, "Know how to use, set, and set-up electronics you own."?
Under 'Master key workshop skills' are...actually nothing I really disagree with.
The amusing part is, other than home brewing beer, I actually know how to do everything on the list, and I'm learning the brewing.
So, here's the list I would make:
1. Simple to intermediate level preventative and corrective automotive maintenance. Brakes, fluids, belts, batteries, spark plugs, etc.
2. Be able to courteously and safely drive in heavy traffic.
3. Drive in adverse conditions such as snow, ice, heavy rain, or off road and safely handle a blow out.
4. Jump starting a car.
5. Hitching and driving with a trailer, especially parking.
6. Park in the middle of a given spot.
7. Know basic first aid
8. Treat hypothermia and heat trauma
9. Master treatment of ailments common to your specific location and profession. For example, an electrical plant worker should be an expert in treating electrical shock and someone living in Death Valley should be able to treat heat stroke while sleeping.
10. Escape a sinking car and assisting other passengers
11. Use fire extinguishers and evacuate a burning building
Around the house:
12. Carve a turkey
13. Be able to sew, either with a machine or by hand
14. Make a fire and safely put one out in any situation
15. Do laundry, including removing stains, ironing, and folding
16. Move heavy stuff without injury or damage
17. Grow food, including knowing what will grow locally and how to keep pests away
18. Read utility meters
19. Shovel, to clear paths, driveways, etc and to make holes
20. Solder wire
21. Mud, patch, and tape drywall
22. Split and stack firewood
23. Perform basic plumbing repairs. Trap cleaning, toilet flappers, washers, etc
24. Mix, form, and lay concrete
25. Paint a straight line
26. Use a chef's knife, peel vegetables and potatoes, make a salad, and cook a modest repertoire of meals
27. Prune bushes and small trees
28. Fell a tree
29. Replace a broken windowpane
30. Set up a ladder and work from it, safely
31. Sweat copper tubing
32. Change a diaper, feed and burp a baby and comfort one when crying
33. Grill with charcoal
34. Fold a flag
35. Shine shoes and dress presentably/professionally
36. Make a bed and maintain cleanliness in the home
37. Exercise within personal limitations and maintain fitness
38. Use a knife, both as a tool and as a weapon
39. Maintain constant situational awareness
40. Evaluate a threat
41. De-escalate a confrontation, especially verbally
42. Fight unarmed and with improvised weapons
43. Break out of a hold or joint lock when surprised
44. Defend your home and loved ones
45. Judge if a given battle is hopeless, and make an informed decision whether or not to fight it
46. Walk away whenever it's necessary and know when it is
47. Shoot accurately whether hunting, practicing, competing, or fighting for your life
48. Carry a handgun, concealed. In other words, not letting others know you have one
49. Run rapids in a canoe
50. Store food safely in the wild
51. Escape a rip current
52. Build or find a shelter in the wilderness
53. Find potable water
54. Survive floods, tornados, cold, heat, lightning, and any disaster specific to your location
Teach your kids (which means you have to know how to do them in the first place, presumably):
55. How to act
56. How to do the things you mutually enjoy
57. To form an informed opinion on an issue
58. To argue a position with facts and logic
59. About your system of government
62. To debate politely
63. How to argue in a hostile manner and when to do so
64. Honor and what it means
65. Duty and why it matters
66. To drive, stick and automatic
67. To swim
69. Personal responsibility
70. Install hardware and software in a computer
71. Take decent pictures
72. Know how to use, set, and set-up electronics you own
73. Shoot a home movie
74. Ditch a hard drive
75. Keep your computer secure and malware free
76. Drill driver
77. Grease gun
78. Coolant hydrometer
79. Socket wrench
80. Test light
81. Brick trowel
82. Framing hammer
83. Wood chisel
84. Spade bit
85. Circular saw
86. Sledge hammer
88. Torque wrench
89. Air wrench
90. Infrared thermometer
91. Sand blaster
92. Crosscut saw
93. Hand plane
95. Feeler gauges
96. Manage finances and balance a checkbook
97. Stay calm and be reassuring
98. Tell a joke or story
99. Paint, both indoors and outdoors
100. Take and follow orders as well as give them