By: Randy Barlow
With Valentine’s Day just before us, and twelve whole months to bask in the glory of surviving last year’s fine excuse to pay twice the going rate for flowers that will be dead before the end of the week, let us take just a moment to dwell upon the things in life that are really important: power tools. Yes, that’s right: power tools.
Let us put this whole lover’s day thing into perspective. If Cupid were here today he would probably use a cordless nail-gun instead of that primitive bow and arrow people are always picturing him with. Back when this whole Valentine’s Day thing first started, those were the top-of-the-line tools of the trade. Actually these days the little cherub uses something with a thirty round clip, a bipod, and a high-powered scope. The whole reason he only comes out once a year is because the A.T.F. has a warrant out for his arrest for using that thing without a permit. Ladies, don’t worry your pretty little heads off. I have it on good authority that he spends the other three hundred and sixty four days of the year safely tucked away at his vacation home onTemptationIsland.
Some women spend a lot of time and wasted effort trying to impress the man they love by picking him out a nice sweater, or a sweet card, or even surprising him by wearing some new lingerie and lighting a few candles. Don’t get me wrong. This particular option does have its upside! But all my wife has to do is whisper those three little words into my ear, “Makita chop saw,” and I am on cloud nine. Something about hearing my wife talk about the things that are so dear to my heart makes my pulse quicken and my knees go weak.
When it comes to man-tools, the more power the better, as far as I am concerned. I want something that makes the lights go dim in the house when you plug it in. That is, unless it comes in a cordless version with enough power packs to make the Energizer Bunny look like a big pink pushover. I want something that comes in its own molded plastic case, with room for plenty of attachments and extra gadgets that nobody ever uses but always look so cool just taking up space.
Seriously, I bet some of you women out there have been reading this and thinking to yourself, “What a typical male!” Are you ready for this? The whole first half of this essay was designed to do just that, to get you fired up about the typical male. I have news for you, ladies, and for that matter, for you guys, too: the typical male that society has placed in your mind is just a myth.
I am tired of being lumped into a faceless, nameless heap of prepackaged, pre-labeled, prejudged flesh. I am a man and I am proud of what that stands for. It means I am an individual different from all other men who have ever walked the Earth. My inner beauty is as bright as a shooting star, and my dreams are as deep as the deepest sea. My heart is as big as a lion’s pride, and my eyes view the world open-wide. I have a perspective on women, love, and life like no one has ever had before simply because they did not walk in these shoes.
My feet have worn running shoes, walking shoes, and even combat boots. With each pair of worn out shoes, I am breaking further and further away from what society says that I must be. The media says, “Be a man, drive the biggest truck, have the biggest toys, and don’t let the world pass you by.” I say, “Let me define myself, and if that happens to include a few power tools and a Ford F-350 with mag wheels and Tweetybird floor mats, then so be it.” So if you see me lusting over a Porter-Cable power painter at your local hardware headquarters, don’t just assume that I pick my nose in public places and subscribe to Hot-Rod Magazine. Let what is in a man’s heart be the weight by which he is measured, and then let God be the one who reads the scales.
I am an artist whose soul burns to create a beautiful thing.
I am a singer with no voice and no words to sing.
I am a dancer who has forgotten how to dance.
I am a high stakes gambler who leaves nothing in this life to chance.
I am a soldier who can’t talk about his pain.
I am an American man, and for this I will not be ashamed.
I am all of this and still not quite defined.
You could have known me, but you didn’t take the time!