My hubby Paul loves it when a brand new problem presents itself.
Like yesterday, when he got home from work, Emily, 14, stomps in and hands him her cell phone. She says, “Dad, you need to take a look at this stupid thing. It’s acting really wonky. I need you to fix it.” Bless her heart, she’s still too young to realize that that ain’t never gonna happen.
Everyone knows that a guy is supposed to know how to fix things. It’s in a guy’s predestined genetic code to fix broken things like cell phones, carburetors, commodes and drain pipes, right? Wrong. My husband did not receive this gene.
But he really enjoys pretending like he did. In fact, Paul is always on hyper-alert in case any kind of Mechanical Failure breaks out, to which he will immediately spring into action by doing absolutely nothing. Oh yes, he likes to keep himself rested at all times, just in case the worst happens and a Mechanical situation arises. Which is why, understandably, he cannot be bothered with mundane and ordinary tasks such as cleaning the bathroom sink or folding underwear.
Here’s a good example. Shortly after we moved to our current house, I started complaining that the dryer in the laundry room was taking 3 loads to dry anything. It was taking the entire day just to accomplish one load of towels. In a house like ours, where teenagers are changing outfits every five minutes, this was just not going to work, my friend. Not only was it not drying, but the stupid thing was groaning like it was trying to give birth to a baby dryer. After about eight weeks of complaining, Paul immediately decides to swing into action. He strides into the laundry room, peers behind the dryer, and, drawing upon his genetic Guy Mechanical Knowledge, declares that there is nothing wrong with this dryer!
This is how he handles things. The main technique he uses for disguising his Mechanical Retardation is to deny that there is ever anything wrong with anything. Like, for instance, if you’ve been a passenger in my Jeep recently, you’ve noticed the super-loud “thwump, thwump” road noise of my tires. It’s so loud that our teenagers have given up trying to talk to each other in the car, except for the occasional, “What?”, “Huh?”, or “Oh, Never Mind!” So I said to Paul…
“Hey, do you hear that thwumping sound?”
Then he cocks his head for a second, gives me a “you must be a delusional lunatic” face and says, “No, I don’t hear a thing.” Only he had to SHOUT IT really loud over the road noise, “NO, I DON’T HEAR A THING!!!!”
I’m telling you, even if a hole suddenly appeared in our living room roof, and tree limbs and squirrels started dropping down into the room, Paul would pause his channel surfing for a second just to announce to everyone that “this is all perfectly normal” and then get right back to watching ancient old episodes of “The King of Queens.” Then he’d be thinking, as the squirrels were searching his belly button for nuts, “Oh that spoiled wife of mine, always trying to get me to spend some money.”
His main goal in life, come Hell or High Water, is to – so help me God – not spend any money ever. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it is broke, act like it isn’t.
Actually, I think it goes beyond Mechanics. I think broken things represent a threat to his manhood, and possibly the Macho-ness of every other man on the planet. Which explains why, in the face of plumbing problems, leaking roofs, broken pool pumps, wonky cell phones or non-drying dryers, it’s best to declare that absolutely none of these things are actually broken, and then to pack up in the middle of the night and move to a different house, just to avoid reality. That way, no money ever changes hands. Therefore, Paul can now go back to resting up in the recliner, eating taco chips and fueling up for the next big Mechanical Disaster.
Now, don’t get me wrong, he’s got plenty of other talents, but fixing things is not one of them. Paul has a singing solo voice better than any American Idol, he can play and write songs on the guitar and the piano, and he can eat an entire platter of Hooters wings in 3 minutes. He can also wear the exact same T-shirt every Saturday for 2 years AND he can communicate entirely in burps. Now that’s talent, baby.
But if something breaks at your house, DO NOT call Paul’s cell phone….it is probably broken anyway. Oh, and also, he won’t be able to hear you over the road noise.