On MSN today, there was an article taken from Esquire Magazine listing and explaining "75 Skills Every Man Should Know". I read it to see how I measured up. I'll list the 75 steps here, and add my own two pennies where needed - and who knows, maybe add a few more!
(the steps in boldface, my thoughts in normal print)
A Man Should Be Able To:
1. Give advice that matters in one sentence. I like this first rule of thumb! Let me add to it "Understand that some are prone to ignore said advice."
2. Tell if someone is lying. I'm an actor - lying is my business. What I'll add is "Know when to call out that lie, and when to let it slide."
3. Take a photo. I can take a photo - it's these damn digital cameras I can't figure out!
4. Score a baseball game. Every time a person crosses home plate, the score goes up by one. Is it more complicated than that?
5. Name a book that matters. "To Kill A Mockingbird" - one of my favorites!
6. Know at least one musical group as well as is possible. My love of the Beatles is legend!
7. Cook meat somewhere other than the grill. Technically, the Foreman Grill is a griddle. I can make a foil pack too!
8. Not monopolize the conversation. I honestly don't talk enough in a conversation.
9. Write a letter. Add the word "effective", and it's a better point.
10. Buy a suit. I'm going to do just that in a couple of weeks, so I don't look like a slob on TV.
11. Swim three different strokes. I got the merit badge, as well as lifeguard certification - crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, sidestroke...
12. Show respect without being a suck-up. This isn't difficult, and actually is aided by #8.
13. Throw a punch. I've never gotten into a fight in my adult life, so I don't know if I truly can. I think I'm a better man for not putting myself in these situations.
14. Chop down a tree. Worked with a tree service for a year - never cut down a tree myself, but I know how from watching.
15. Calculate square footage. I do it all the time at work, determining how big the ad space is - length times width.
16. Tie a bow tie. Ummm, no. A standard business tie (a faux Windsor) I think is more important.
17. Make one drink, in large batches, very well. Half whiskey, half Coke - done!
18. Speak a foreign language. Does Klingon count?
19. Approach a woman out of his league. Didn't need to - they approached me! (Hi, dear!)
20. Sew a button. I can, but never do. If the button popped off, the clothes don't fit anymore!
21. Argue with a European without getting xenophobic or insulting soccer. WTF? Like I have need to argue with Europeans on any kind of regular basis! Listen to what they have to say first - they may have a good point!
22. Give a woman an orgasm so that he doesn't have to ask after it. Any comments I make may make a regular reader of my blog and/or me blush...
23. Be loyal. One of the 12 Scouting laws that I still follow to this day.
24. Know his poison, without standing there, pondering like a dope. Shot of Patron, chilled.
25. Drive an eightpenny nail into a treated two-by-four without thinking about it. I have the coordination of a drunk monkey, so I AM going to think about it.
26. Cast a fishing rod without shrieking or sighing or otherwise admitting defeat. No problem.
27. Play gin with an old guy. How about rummy instead?
28. Play go fish with a kid. I don't have any sixes, kid. Tough shit!
29. Understand quantum physics well enough that he can accept that a quarter might, at some point, pass straight through the table when dropped. Isn't that more like "theoretical physics"?
30. Feign interest. I'm sorry, did you say something?
31. Make a bed. I'll go you one better - I can make a waterbed! Now THAT'S a challenge!
32. Describe a glass of wine in one sentence without using the terms nutty, fruity, oaky, finish, or kick. I guess "makes me barfy" isn't technically a sentence...
33. Hit a jump shot in pool. I'm lucky to hit the cueball!
34. Dress a wound. Yep, got that merit badge too. Most people forget to elevate the wound.
35. Jump-start a car (without any drama). Change a flat tire (safely). Change the oil (once). Two out of three ain't bad - oil I leave to the experts.
36. Make three different bets at a craps table. I don't like games of chance when betting real money. I'd rather play games I have a modicum of control over, like Blackjack or Texas Hold'em.
37. Shuffle a deck of cards. I finally learned how to do so about five years ago.
38. Tell a joke. I prefer the story jokes where you never see the punchline coming.
39. Know when to split his cards in blackjack. Aces and Eights always, never on Faces. The rest of them, you have to consider what the dealer is showing.
40. Speak to an eight-year-old so he will hear. I don't whip out the "authority voice" very often, but I'm decent with kids.
41. Speak to a waiter so he will hear. I'm a mumbler, so I've gotta work on this.
42. Talk to a dog so it will hear. That's a GOOD boy...
43. Install: a disposal, an electronic thermostat, or a lighting fixture without asking for help. I've installed two electronic thermostats in the last two years, I'll be installing a ceiling fan/light soon, but how many disposals NEED to be installed?
44. Ask for help. Last resort.
45. Break another man's grip on his wrist. Kick him in the nads, hard!
46. Tell a woman's dress size. Not touching that one, ever! That's akin to guessing her weight or age.
47. Recite one poem from memory. Oh pointy bird; oh pointy pointy; Annoint my head; Annointy, nointy.
48. Remove a stain. Wash it - duh!
49. Say no. Only when I need to make a point.
50. Fry an egg sunny-side up. RedFaery prefers scrambled, me over hard.
51. Build a campfire. Again, I'm an Eagle Scout. I can build many varieties of campfires!
52. Step into a job no one wants to do. I'm a middle manager; what do YOU think?
53. Sometimes, kick some ass. Last resort.
54. Break up a fight. Hose.
55. Point to the north at any time. I pointed north out to my dad just yesterday.
56. Create a play-list in which ten seemingly random songs provide a secret message to one person. WTF? How about just creating a playlist of good music instead?
57. Explain what a light-year is. How far light travels in a year, Mr. Spock.
58. Avoid boredom. Blog!
59. Write a thank-you note. Dear you, Thanks, signed Me
60. Be brand loyal to at least one product. Crest toothpaste has never let me down.
61. Cook bacon. Fried is better
62. Hold a baby. Scruff of neck.
63. Deliver a eulogy. Fortunately I've never had the opportunity.
64. Know that Christopher Columbus was a son of a bitch. Ok, wow. I know what the author was getting at, but is this REALLY in the top 75?
65-67. Throw a baseball over-hand with some snap. Throw a football with a tight spiral. Shoot a 12-foot jump shot reliably. The reason I got into theatre is because I suck at sports. That's never changed, nor do I expect it to with practice.
68. Find his way out of the woods if lost. Pay attention to everything - it's not hard.
69. Tie a knot. Square, bowline, sheepshank - hello, Eagle Scout here!
70. Shake hands. More guys need to remember that it's not a visegrip contest.
71. Iron a shirt. It's harder than it looks, but not difficult.
72. Stock an emergency bag for the car. I really ought to do this...
73. Caress a woman's neck. I practice daily. :)
74. Know some birds. Cardinal, robin, sparrow, etc. Helps when your mom is into this stuff.
75. Negotiate a better price. My last car purchase went very well, I think! Just gotta do your homework before stumbling in.
So according to this list, I have a little homework to do (can't or won't do 16 items on it). I think there are a couple more that could be added.
76. Learn how to sing at least one song really well. My singing is what got RedFaery's attention initially, so I consider it a useful skill.
77. Learn how to make your point known without being overbearing about it. That's how Red and I rarely fight.
78. Make time for family. Still learning how to do this myself, but I consider it much more important than #64 above!
79. A buffet is NOT a challenge!
80. Pretend everything you say and do is being watched by everyone important to you, and act accordingly. Because it is!
Maybe you can find a gem or two on this list. At the very least, I hope it was entertaining!