Friday, September 12, 2008

Feeling Manly and Tired

Claiming to be manly is like claiming to be funny. If you have to prove it by showing pictures and explaining, you’re pretty pathetic.

Nonetheless, I feel manly this week because I've been working with my friend Perry to prepare the side of our house for our new driveway. He promised it would only cost a little extra for me to help, so I jumped all over it.

How manly am I? Well, earlier in the week I was breaking up concrete with a sledgehammer and throwing the pieces into truck. You just can't get more manly than that. That's what I told my wife, anyway, as I was whined to her about how achy I was while I soaked in my bubble bath that night.

Next up was driving spikes stakes into the ground to put up forms for concrete and shoveling dirt to even things out. That's pretty manly, but not as much as busting up concrete. Still, it's more manly than crying myself to sleep at night because of the pain.

As the week has worn on, my body has continued to cry out for mercy. This morning I could hardly hammer a spike stake into the soft, wet ground, and I wasn't even strong enough to drill screws into wood sideways. All I could do was use the electric saw to cut off the tops of the spikes stakes and carry them over to the woodpile. My body was telling me in no uncertain terms to get back to the computer and stop this nonesense. In response, I complimented myself for carrying sticks to the woodpile during a long, steady rainstorm and getting incredibly muddy, which I believe provides some kind of extra credit for man points.

My goal as a writer is to make some kind of impact on the world, which is nice and vague, and can't really be proven or disproven one way or another. My goal as a construction worker is to someday be manly enough to operate the backhoe. Sometimes it's good to have a nice, concrete goal. Unfortunately, Perry knows me pretty well, so I suspect it will be awhile before I get there.

And speaking of concrete, we'll be pouring on Monday if the weather cooperates. If my body hasn't recovered by then, I may ask that they just bury me there.


Crockhead said...

Sorry, manly man, but those aren't spikes. They're stakes. Spikes are made of steel. Stakes are made of wood. Kind of like calling cattle "cows." Other than that, I'm impressed.

Dan S said...

Cattle aren't cows? What are you talking about?

Thanks for setting me straight on the stake/spike thing. I thought it sounded manlier than it actually was.

Patrick Gabridge said...

Thanks for the post, Dan. It's great to know that you're manly. And any column that makes me laugh is a good one. (The backhoe is a dream drive, isn't it?)

David Wright said...

You proved you were funny while trying to prove you were manly. That's a double off the center field wall in my book. Or a spike/stake through the heart of column writing. Or something heavily lifted and tossed in a wheelbarrow. Or some other analogy/metaphor.


Aaron Lehman said...

An impressive beginning to a life of manual labor, or an unfortunate introduction to the pain and suffering of flat-work. I guess it depends whether you try something like this again. And a piece of advice - never learn to drive a backhoe on your own property/near your own house.

Dan S said...

Ah, Aaron. You see how I get into trouble without you around? It would never have occured to me to try it on someone else's property.

I'm sure there's a metaphor for that too - maybe it's reaching first on a bunt and an error.