You’d Better Know The Following Things If You Want To Keep Your Man Card.

Come to think of it, you’d better know most of this stuff if you plan on owning a house, surviving in the city, ever go camping, travel abroad, or consume oxygen. But since I am semi-regularly accused of not deserving a Man Card because I review books that are written by female authors, some of them romance novels, I feel the need to validate my chromosomal arrangement publicly. (Yes, I’m a binary kind of person. You haters can all skip the insults. I still think that assigned gear should be kept for the duration. Funny that way…)

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Let’s keep this very basic:

You absolutely have to know what a junction box is, and why you need the locks for the knockouts. If those terms escape you, you probably don’t have a 100 year old house with brittle wiring. It is a useful skill. Do not tell the building inspectors you have employed it.

Gleefully misappropriated from the people at Garvin Industries (

Gleefully misappropriated from the people at Garvin Industries (

You have to know how to load a semi-automatic weapon, preferably a handgun, and safely unload the weapon. You also have to know how to shoot it. Buy a stainless steel one so that you don’t have to be a fanatic about cleaning. If you think you don’t need a gun, you’re probably relying on people like Bobby Kurtz to take care of you. He’s a fictional character. Good luck.

Toilet snake. Plunger. Clogs. Here’s a link to fix it yourself. Plumbers run over $100/hr. It’s worth your time to learn this stuff. If you have a chronically clogged toilet, or a slow draining one, it may be due to a family member’s medication. It impacts the stool and makes it stick to the pipes. Adding a few drops of dish washing liquid once a week (Dawn is good) helps keep the pipe clean. It breaks up the blockage and saves big money and flooded bathrooms. Add a bit as the toilet is flushing, and again as the bowl fills.

Don’t get your water downstream from a campground, a farm, or a slow moving part of the river. You can boil it all day long and it will still taste like the sewage from upstream. If you are out in the woods, and have no other source of water, for heaven’s sake use a filter that eliminates Giardia. Chlorine and boiling don’t always eliminate the stuff that really can kill you in the water. Filter it, chlorinate it, boil it. If that doesn’t work, reflect on how you made God mad at you to the point where He reels you in for drinking water.

Overseas travel: If you are with a tour group, you are a target. Yeah, you. Make sure your tour company is reputable, protects your life with briefings on the local situation, and employs armed guides and guards in really dangerous areas. I’ve enjoyed more than one meal at a restaurant where the guy at the door was carrying a pump-action 12 gauge. Made me feel downright good. If that barkin beast didn’t keep me safe, nothing would.

Learn how to grow a few vegetables. I don’t know why, but that always seems to be on these lists.

Learn how to properly operate a circular saw. Not doing it right can cause the loss of handy things like fingers. If you own a house, you will need one sooner or later.

Be prepared to move on a week’s notice. Not that you are planning on fleeing the authorities, but what if that dream job came up in a remote city? What would you need to bring with you? What could you leave behind? (The answer is most of the crap in your home could stay there and you’d never miss it. If that’s the case, why not get rid of it now?)

Learn how to prepare a meal for fifty people. Doesn’t have to be fancy, but it’s a skill that can come in handy if you need a job. More than one restaurant has hired the cook just because they had some vague idea how to move food down the line in a timely fashion.

Learn CPR. Everybody should know how to do this vital task. You might help someone else keep their man card by keeping them alive.

Know how to gut and skin an animal. Not that you need to practice on your neighbor’s cat, but at least know how to do it if you’re in an emergency situation.

Get a platinum Visa card with a $40,000 limit. Then you can skip all the stuff above and hire people to do it.

But then again, I’ll be asking for a loan.

Have a great day. Stop back Thursday for a book review of Perilous Journey by Dennis Ricci.

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Assault on Saint Agnes is now available. Just click this link to find all the options! (I recommend the autographed copy. It’s cheaper than from the big stores, I scribble in it, and you get it mailed within 5 days. We all win.

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