Men Who Can’t Fix Shit

*****This one time I’m at my Mum’s place. I was visiting. My nephew was around, he’s called Roy. For some reason everyone else had left and it was just me and him watching TV, some show he chose. Then the TV goes blank. The decoder had been acting up for sometime as I later learnt from him. The obvious thing to do was to stand up and fix it right? I just did that.

Only problem is, I’m not very good at fixing things around the house. And my nephew must have figured as much because by the time I was fondling the decoder trying to figure out the problem, he said to me, ‘Uncle, wachana nayo, Uncle Brando will come and fix it.’ That felt like a fist to the face. You see, my kid bro, Braden is the one blessed with the hands to fix things around the house. And this comes with no formal teaching just pure natural skills. I remember him fixing the house computer all on his own. Another time he fixed the iron box, yaani, he’s the handyman in the house. And he’s all brawn too (he played rugby in high school), unlike me, the brainy one (I love to say that to consoled myself).

I humbly listened to Roy’s advice and sat my ass down. Then I asked him to play chess with me, I had to find a comeback guys. You see, fixing stuff around the house doesn’t come so naturally for me. I could count ten things in my own house that need fixing and still haven’t been sorted out. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t take pride in this fact and not to say I don’t have my own unique strengths to make up for the missing handiwork skills.

I’m convinced I have company among many men. Here is a free business idea; I think someone should start a crash program to teach men like me how to fix things around the house. I know I’d pay for such a class myself.

Recently I cornered my Dad during a lunch we shared and asked him to tell me some things that don’t come naturally to him as a man. For me it’s fixing things. For him – in his own words – is making jokes. First, I was baffled because as much as I know him to be a seriously principled man, I know him as a kind warm hearted man who loves to be happy. Maybe he is good to his kids but can’t crack a joke to save himself with other people. You know how women say they want a man who makes them laugh? I’m very curious to know how my Dad managed to win my Mum’s heart without making jokes. But that’s a story for another day.

He too, like me isn’t so proficient when it come to fixing things around the house. He went on to tell me that he doesn’t bother much with that, he’ll simply call in a technician and get it done (now I see which genes I got in plenty from him). He also said something quite interesting, ‘that a man should only bother himself with big and important matters. Not small ones like fixing stuff around the house’.

A valid point I must add.

It reminded me of a bone of contention I had thinking about the lion. You see, if I was an animal, I’d probably be a lion. I have watched a couple of documentaries about the king of the jungle and have made me fascinated about this majestic beast. One thing I always found odd was the fact that the male lion doesn’t do much hunting, the lioness does. Once the prey is killed and brought in, the lion takes the first meal, the lion’s share. Later, the wife and kids jump in. The male lion can sleep for up to 20 hours a day. I found it odd that the king of the jungle can be so lazy and elude his role to provide for its own family, through hunting.

Well, I was wrong. In the words of my father, I later learnt that the male lion was more concerned with the bigger, more important matters of protecting its family and safe guarding their current and future well being. This is how; the male lion must first take a territory for itself. It then has to protect the territory from intruders and that’s why it wakes up each morning to circle its territory pissing around the perimeter as a warning to any intruder who dares step into his house. This way, the lion has pretty much provided for the family by ensuring all the animals in its territory are his and the lioness can do the cooking (hunting).

The bigger task of the male lion is to ensure that no intruder steps into his house and that he keeps his family fed and protected by safe guarding the territory. In the event an act of god, say drought makes his territory barren and lack food, the lion then leads his pack to another territory where he is met with a new set of challenges; one, to overthrow the king in that new territory and take over the spot, which calls for fighting. Or secondly, if he is lucky to find vacant room in a new territory, to immediately take charge of it and protect it from other packs of lions searching for such a territory.

That is a perfect example of the man of the house taking charge of the more important matters and delegating the less demanding ones. Some lessons on manhood are necessary to be learned lest one gropes in the dark doing that which he can delegate.

You might be like me, a man who can’t fix shit (in the house that is) but surely there is a bigger, more important role for you and that’s taking care of your family; leading them, providing for them, protecting them, caring for them and most especially, loving them. Focus on that, it’s more important.


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