Posted on April 19, 2013 in Articles
The Article: What Being a Handyman Has Taught Me About Male Insecurity by Andy Hinds in The Atlantic.
The Text: When I was five years old, my two sisters, my parents, and I lived in a canvas tent on the side of a mountain in Western Montana for a month and a half. During that time, and with the help of our extended family, we built most of the cabin that would become our family vacation home. One of my jobs, which I took to with great enthusiasm, was to pound every nail that held the plywood flooring to the log beams on the second story. We barely got the cabin roofed-in in time for my dad to report to his new Army post, and, as I like to say, 40 years later we’re still putting the finishing touches on it.
In the course of his career, my dad was an infantry officer, a military attaché, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, and an arms-reduction negotiator. At home, he was a wrench. Dude could fix anything.
Up until the time my parents were approaching retirement age, I can hardly recall a “professional” ever working on any of the houses they owned over the years. Dad built walls and sidewalks, installed woodstoves, laid tile, added electrical circuits and plumbing fixtures, fixed furnaces, and, at the cabin, ten years after it was first built, contrived an indoor plumbing system featuring an elaborate pump rig that sent the waste up the mountain to a septic tank. His only training in construction and mechanical work had been summer jobs on the railroad and growing up in a time and place where men didn’t own things they couldn’t fix. (My mom, a Montana farm kid, is no slouch with a hammer and saw, either.)