Friday, May 09, 2008

The 75 Skills Every Man Should Master

It wouldn't be half bad if women knew some of these things too. I liked some things more than others.
Here are some of my favorites:

7. Cook meat somewhere other than the grill.
Buy The Way to Cook, by Julia Child. Try roasting. Braising. Broiling. Slow-cooking. Pan searing. Think ragouts, fricassees, stews. All of this will force you to understand the functionality of different cuts. In the end, grilling will be a choice rather than a chore, and your Weber will become a tool rather than a piece of weekend entertainment.

23. Be loyal. You will fail at it. You have already. A man who does not know loyalty, from both ends, does not know men. Loyalty is not a matter of give-and-take: He did me a favor, therefore I owe him one. No. No. No. It is the recognition of a bond, the honoring of a shared history, the reemergence of the vows we make in the tight times. It doesn't mean complete agreement or invisible blood ties. It is a currency of selflessness, given without expectation and capable of the most stellar return.

25. Drive an eightpenny nail into a treated two-by-four without thinking about it.
Use a contractor's hammer. Swing hard and loose, like a tennis serve

31. Make a bed.

32. Describe a glass of wine in one sentence without using the terms nutty, fruity, oaky, finish, or kick.

34. Dress a wound. First, stop the bleeding. Apply pressure using a gauze pad. Stay with the pressure. If you can't stop the bleeding, forget the next step, just get to a hospital. Once the bleeding stops, clean the wound. Use water or saline solution; a little soap is good, too. If you can't get the wound clean, then forget the next step, just get to a hospital. Finally, dress the wound. For a laceration, push the edges together and apply a butterfly bandage. For avulsions, where the skin is punctured and pulled back like a trapdoor, push the skin back and use a butterfly. Slather the area in antibacterial ointment. Cover the wound with a gauze pad taped into place. Change that dressing every 12 hours, checking carefully for signs of infection. Better yet, get to a hospital.

40. Speak to an eight-year-old so he will hear. Use his first name. Don't use baby talk. Don't crank up your energy to match his. Ask questions and wait for answers. Follow up. Don't pretend to be interested in Webkinz or Power Rangers or whatever. He's as bored with that shit as you are. Concentrate instead on seeing the child as a person of his own.

41. Speak to a waiter so he will hear.

47. Recite one poem from memory.

52. Step into a job no one wants to do.

53. Sometimes, kick some ass.

54. Break up a fight. Work in pairs if possible. Don't get between people initially. Use the back of the collar, pull and urge the person downward. If you can't get him down, work for distance.

56. Create a play-list in which ten seemingly random songs provide a secret message to one person.

63. Deliver a eulogy. Take the job seriously. It matters. Speak first to the family, then to the outside world. Write it down. Avoid similes. Don't read poetry. Be funny.

68. Find his way out of the woods if lost. Note your landmarks -- mountains, power lines, the sound of a highway. Look for the sun: It sits in the south; it moves west. Gauge your direction every few minutes. If you're completely stuck, look for a small creek and follow it downstream. Water flows toward larger bodies of water, where people live.

73. Caress a woman's neck.

Mighty girl has seven for women.

1. Entertain unexpected company. Invest in a cheeseboard, and then keep a big jar in your cupboard filled with bags of dried apricots and cranberries, almonds, hazelnuts, and a few bars of exceptional chocolate....

Now, in three minutes, you can dump out some fruit and nuts, chop up a chocolate bar, and arrange it all to maximum effect on the cheeseboard. If you have decent cheese in the fridge, it’s a bonus. Pow! You’re Martha Stewart.

2. Comfort someone in mourning. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” And then as much silence as you can muster.

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