Sunday, February 13, 2011

Repairman Bob

The cliché – and there is truth to it, as there is truth to all clichés – is that men fix, women vent. That causes problems, as most everyone finds out. Women vent to men and men want to fix the problem.

I tell women, if you want to vent, talk to your girlfriends. You don’t go to a doctor or dentist to vent: you want your problems fixed. I don’t want to hear you babble unless you want the problem fixed.

Some men turn off women’s babbling. All they hear is a hum in the background. I knew one guy whose wife babbled around the kitchen while he was reading the paper. He had no idea what she was ever saying, but one day she stopped talking and he looked up and said, “Is there something wrong?” because the background noise had stopped. But if you had asked him what she had said, he wouldn’t have had a clue.

When people ask me want I do for a living, I tell them I fix things. I get some odd looks. But if you think about it, all jobs are about fixing things. Or, at least, most of them.

F. Paul Wilson has a series of novels about a character he calls Repairmen Jack. Jack fixes things when the people cannot go to the police. I sometimes tell people since I fix things, I call myself Repairmen Bob.

Sometimes the desire to fix things can be a compulsion. I once saw a cat fall down a sewer drain opening and spent half a hour figuring out how to get him out (I ended up pulling him up with a piece of wire after I took the manhole cover off).

When I can’t fix things it drives me nuts. Many years I couldn’t get the water pump off of my car and was cursing mightily. Then I looked up and saw my mother standing on the porch with her mouth open. What was coming out of me was “($*%*!@#$%^!!!!!”

Men are the ones who invented civilization and technology. I figure one of the reasons is because they want to fix things. It’s hot? Let’s make it cooler. It’s cold? Let’s make it warmer. You’re sick? Let’s make you well.

If people spent all their time venting, we’d still be living in caves.

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