Friday, November 06, 2009

Man Challenge

Picture this:
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.


Charlotte in Pa said...

A few years ago Sue and I went to NYC for the weekend, leaving the car parked at the Princeton train station. It snowed close to 2 feet and when we got back, we realized we had locked the keys in the car. We were freezing and didn't know what to do. Out of desperation, I unscrewed the antennae, wedged it between the window and the door, and jimmied the lock open. It was true MacGyver moment. Even now... every once in awhile... Sue will look at me and say, "Remember when you MacGyvered the door open at the train station? That was awesome."

Sorry you can't share that joy.

Meegs said...

I once locked myself out of my running car. Not cool. Luckily I had left the window open just a crack. I was able to run to the dollar store (in the same parking lot), get a pair of tongs, and get my hand in there just enough to grab the lock with the tongs and pull it up*.

Let me tell you... even women get the puffed up chest feeling sometimes!!! :-)

*Thank God too... since I was 1.5 HOURS from home, and Trav would have killed me if he had to drive all the way up there with the spare key.

Unknown said...

Whoa. Dude. Man up, listen to the women and get yourself a spare key. Have Lauren hold onto it. ;D

Dan Creighton said...

So true! Great one.

Charity Donovan said...

Just further proof (as if I needed it) that men truly are just NEANDERTHALS at heart! Can't live with them...can't live without them (& their endless supply of duct tape, adjustable clamps & zip ties!)

Susie said...

It's a sad moment indeed, when you realize that your tool is too soft for the job.

I got two words for you: AAA. (That's pronounced Triple A.)

eclectic said...

Your man-thing didn't rise to the challenge because the tool was too soft for the job? And then the guy in the cop-costume came, called you 'sir', and finished the job?

Wow. I always think of your site as mostly PG-13.

Melinda said...

Listen, you have a neck injury. I am sure that is why you under-performed this man task.

SciFi Dad said...

A real man would have broken the window when he heard the cops were coming to steal his manhood.

James (SeattleDad) said...

How could she. No matter how mcuh she begs, you need to withold your manly charms from her for a period of time as punishment.

Is it only me who thinks that is hilarious??

Melissa said... hero!

JP said...

You didn't have OnStar? Come on!!

Anonymous said...

I hate those carnies who try to get you to play those games. I think I'm probably one of the only men on the planet who has never won one of those giant stuffed animals for my wife. One day... one day.

Anonymous said...

One time, many moons ago before airport security hassles, I was at an airport and late for my flight. I parked in the no-parking zone, ran into the airport to check in, and then promptly forgot to go get my car. It was still running with the keys inside, the passenger door open, hanging out in the airport no parking zone. I didn't think of it until I had arrived several hours later at my destination. As it turned out, it was cheaper to pay for the tow guy then to park in the airport parking lot. heh heh

Lois Lane said...

Funny post!

No matter what Lauren still can't pee while standing. You will always out man her in THAT department. ;)

The mayo jar was as if you were looking in our kitchen window last week. Same, same. :)

April said...

You are killing me this week. Your Symptoms post and talking about angina.(Yeah, I wrote that just so you would laugh. want me to say it again? ANGINA.) And now this. So funny. Have you started speaking to Lauren again? But that's a key difference between men and women. We are all about the SOLUTION. You guys are all about the act of solving the problem. We just want it done. Even if it means calling the police. :)

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that you have any manhood left to give.

Anonymous said...

When the cop showed up you were 1/2 of the village people.

Anonymous said...

Come on, tell the truth. you know it was a Miracle Whip Jar.

dw said...

Great post! Entertaining & well written.

Anonymous said...

This whole story would have been better if the cop was female!

inklenaomi said...

You know, if you had a swiss army knife and duct tape, you could have had that macgyver moment. I had one myself last year with gum, a string, a cell phone and a storm drain.