ENID — One morning a month, several of the men from our church get together for breakfast and Bible study.
During our most recent meeting the talk turned to do-it-yourself projects, real “get your hands dirty,” handyman stuff.
Internally I cringed. I am, I must confess, not very handy around the house. When my bride reads this she will giggle, hard.
That is, you see, the understatement of the century. OK, it is the understatement of the millennia. All right, it is the understatement of the entire span of human existence.
As a handyman I am hopeless. As a do-it-yourselfer I am totally and completely inept, and I’m being generous.
If a home improvement project involves anything more complicated than changing a light bulb, installing a new battery in a clock or putting a new roll of toilet paper on the little dispenser thingie in the bathroom, I am out of my league. I’m so bad at do-it-yourself stuff I’m in danger of losing my man card.
So the last subject I wanted to discuss in front of a group of guys, most of whom are older and wiser than I, was home improvement projects.
But to my surprise, some of them said they weren’t handy, either. One confessed to once using newspaper to cut a pattern for laying carpeting in a bathroom. The problem was, everything came out backwards.
The same guy said he installed a new shower in his bathroom but put the soap dish in upside down.
Wow, what a revelation. I thought I was the only one. It’s a relief to know I’m not alone.
I grew up with a dad who could build or fix darn near anything. He had to; he was a farm boy, and by necessity, farmers and ranchers are the handiest people around. As for me, I took wood shop in high school and spent one whole semester making a footstool that I still have to this day. It is a masterpiece. OK, it’s a rectangular piece of wood with legs screwed into it. Oh, and I put a coat of varnish on it, too. I passed the class, barely. I think the teacher felt sorry for me.
Once our kitchen faucet began to drip, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I went to the store and bought a faucet replacement kit. All I had to do was follow the instructions. It was going to be a piece of cake, I thought.
When I returned home carrying the new faucet, my bride placed herself squarely between me and the sink, arms and legs akimbo, drew herself up to her full height and said, “Over my dead body.” We called a plumber.
When I try to glue something, the only thing I wind up accomplishing is sticking my fingers together. When I saw something, it’s never straight. When I drive a nail, it bends. I am an equal opportunity doofus.
I’m not much better at outdoor stuff. I was trying to fix a stuck string trimmer once and jammed a screwdriver into my left purlicue, that soft space between your thumb and forefinger. I had to have stitches.
I was trimming the bushes in front of our house once when I put my left hand where it shouldn’t have been and got my left index finger stuck in the blade. I had to have stitches. My bride’s response? “What a boneheaded thing to do.” What a comfort she is to me.
I once killed nearly all the grass on my mother’s lawn by putting weed and feed on it. I figured if the amount recommended on the bag was good, then doubling it would be better. Wrong. Mom didn’t say much. What could she say, she brought me into this world.
Over the years, I have come to grips with the fact that when it comes to DIY, I am DOA.
Actually, if you think about it, I am doing the world a favor by not being handy. I am helping provide jobs for all those plumbers, electricians, painters and builders out there.
Mullin is senior writer of the Enid News & Eagle. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 548-8145.