Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mr. Flashlight Holder Guy

A few weeks back I added another check mark to my personal list of man accomplishments. There are certain things that once you have accomplished, other men acknowledge as being manly. We don’t talk about it a lot because that is just not our way, but we all know it is there. Don’t let any man fool you, men are secretly comparing their list to other men’s lists to see how they match up.

Some things on the list seem silly, such as growing a moustache. But it is on the list. I have done that one. Check!

Killing wild animals is also on the list. I was able to check this off my list when I declared a purposeful killing of wildlife with my car, and then I supplemented that story with a slightly exaggerated fish tale that may, or may not, have included a shark. It doesn’t matter because I have already checked it off the list and I will protect the story with further truth stretching if needed. Check!

I won’t go through the entire list, but one thing that has always escaped me is being mechanical. You know, working on a car. I have always wanted to work on my car, but when changing a wiper blade takes 20 minutes and makes me a punchline for my wife’s jokes- I would rather a professional handled that. Besides, it is important to me that my cars actually work.

Neither my father nor my stepfather had any skills in this area. So my automotive experiences were limited to taking the car to Jiffy Lube and trying to look like I knew what the guy was talking about before I said something like,"Yeah, go ahead and throw that on there too,” and handing over my credit card.

But that was the old me! Now I can say that I helped “drop an engine.” That is what it is called when you put an engine back into a car. A friend of mine was fixing his car and I was excited to help. No, I had no idea what was going on, but I tried to pay attention and keep out of the way.

Once, I came inside for something and my wife asked me, “What are you guys doing out there?”

I locked up for a second scanning all the words I heard and stopped when I got to mani-something, so I said, “We are hooking up the manifest destiny...” and I trailed off on the destiny part hoping she wouldn’t hear that.

“What? What did you say? Ha! you don’t know what you are doing out there, do you?” She laughed in that way that wives do when they figure out the severity of their husbands’ cluelessness.

I shouted,”Shut up! You don’t know anything about cars!” and then I stomped back outside with the men. It sounded like a much better comeback in my head.

But I wanted to be useful, and the guys could see that, so they handed me a flashlight. I then became “The Flashlight Holder Guy.” It was the only job I was qualified for, but gosh darn it- I did it well.

I pointed the light here and there. Occasionally I needed to switch hands, and I did try to get style points with around the corner awkward angle spotlights. I wanted to be one step ahead of the work, so I anticipated where the light would be needed next. I really wanted to be the best Flashlight Holder Guy ever.

My dedication to my new craft was noted by the guys who knew what they were doing around a car. Sure they were making fun of me when they suggested that I be the focus of a new Bud Light radio commercial, but I didn’t care because I was helping.

So I created my own Bud Light commercial, not for me, but for all those guys out there looking to make a check mark on their man list and trying to help someone who is mechanical with the power of light. Because the spotlight is never on the un-mechanical, but the job is still important.

Working on a car- Check!