A woman struggles opening a mayonnaise jar, turns to her husband for assistance, he tries and tries but cannot get the lid to turn. It is such a simple task yet so difficult. She says, "Honey, let me run it under some hot water." He says, "No, I got it." He struggles some more, sweat beading on his forehead. She says, "Let me tap it with a knife." He says "NO. I said I got it." He keeps trying but the lid refuses to budge. A seemingly simple physical challenge is bringing his manhood into question. A man is supposed to be able to open jars. He places the jar on the counter to re-assess the situation. The woman picks up the jar, bangs the lid on the counter and with a quick flip of her wrist the jar opens. He says, "I loosened it for you."
Completing a physical challenge, no matter how simple, is good for man. It gives us an opportunity to beat our chest and say "Look. I did that." That is why Carnies are always calling out to men challenging them to throw a softball at milk bottles. Carnies know the challenge seems simple that men will keep trying until we get it just so we can say "I did that." There is nothing like carrying a giant stuffed panda around to heighten ones testosterone level.
Sometimes the more seemingly simple tasks become the more complex challenges. There are a few of these seemingly simple yet complex challenges where men thrive on the competitive nature of the challenge. Getting someones keys out of a locked car is one of those challenges. No key, a locked door, limited tools, its like MacGyver. Men want to be MacGyver.
Yesterday I locked my keys in my car. We do not have a spare key. I was in the parking lot of the Acme food store just a mile from our house. I was up for the challenge. I told the woman at the customer service counter my predicament and asked if they had a screwdriver and a wire hanger. They did. I went back to my car and I began to work. I wedged the screw driver in the door frame and propped the door open just enough to work the wire hanger into the car. I maneuvered hanger's bent end close to the electric button but every time I "pressed" the hanger it would bend. I was close. I "pressed" again but the hanger bent some more. I removed the hanger reshaped it and went back to work. Every time I got close to hitting the button the hanger would bend and I would have to remove it to reshape it.
As I was standing at my car with the wire hanger and a screwdriver protruding from the door I began to notice a strange phenomena. Men would come up to me and offer advice or they would look in their trunks and cars to see if they had the right tool to open the car. Every guy that passed me in that parking lot, over the half hour or so I was standing there, could feel the MacGyver in them. They wanted a piece of the challenge. It is a man thing. Carnies should have a game where they lock keys in a car.
Every woman that walked by, all said pretty much the same thing, "Don't you have a spare key somewhere?"
Knowing that the hanger was too soft for the job (hey now) I finally broke down and called Lauren. I asked her to grab a wooden dowel that I knew we had in the garage and another screwdriver. I knew that with something less pliable than the wire hanger I would be able to open the door. Lauren thought that at that time she should mention that I am probably ruining the car door. I got a little frustrated and said, "Just bring me the stuff I asked for okay." and I hung up.
Five minutes later Lauren called me back. " I am not coming to get you." She said. "I called the police. Someone will be there soon. Just wave them down when you see them."
"You called the police?" I asked.
"Why? They have more important things to do than help me. Besides I knew I could get it open if you just brought the stuff."
"They will have the right tools to get into the car."
"I can't believe you called the police on me."
"Well I did."
I hung up and worked very quickly trying to get the car door open before the cops showed up. I could not believe that Lauren would emasculate me like that. Getting keys out of a locked car is a manly thing. Its one of those things we are supposed to do. Two minutes later a cop showed up. I lowered my eyes in shame avoiding his judgemental look. I pretty much gave up my man card right then and there. The officer had the car open in 30 seconds.
"There you go, sir" He said. Adding the "sir" as if he may have been questioning it.
"Thank you." I said. "I am sorry my wife called. I could have gotten it if I had a few more minutes."
"No problem." He responded as he got into his cruiser.
"Well I DID loosen it for you." I said.