Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tools of Guy Power

There are many ways for a guy to affirm his masculinity. Some  -- mixed martial arts cage fighting, for instance, or bungie jumping into a mountain chasm -- carry for the regular guy a significant risk of the humiliation that comes with whimpering and wetting your pants in public.  But for most guys, guys like me who aren’t ultra-violent ‘roid freaks or suicidal Jackass wannabees, power tools offer a safe, rational way to say to the world, “I have a penis.”

Of course anybody, even women, can buy power tools. And just owning a drill or a reciprocating saw will barely move the needle on the Guy-O-Meter. So if your goal is to wave Y chromosome around like the Jolly Roger, you need to actually do something with your power tools.
If you’re a carpenter or otherwise use power tools professionally, you’re already at the Jedi level in the guy hierarchy. Crack open a brewski, dude, scratch the body part of your choice, and baskl in your testosteronishness.
If, on the other hand, your power tools are just laying in their cases, their disuse taunting you with its unspoken suggestion that you’re better suited to ironing doilies, you can shut them up by following one of two paths to total male guyness.
The first path is to successfully complete a home project. If you can pull that off and whatever you build doesn’t fall over or explode within the first forty-eight hours, you’ve got it covered. Go back two paragraphs and see if the carpenter will give you a beer.
But successful home projects involving power tools require things like “measurement” and “precision” and “patience.” I don’t know about you, but those three words have never come into play any time I’ve ever described a really great weekend.
For instance, on a long-ago Saturday my wife asked me to use my power tools to remove a wall. The wall in question was in our own home, so right away the entertainment value of that project dropped to zero. The situation didn’t improve when, after I’d finished, my wife changed her mind and asked me to put the wall back -- which was a lot more difficult than taking it down, and required measurement, precision, and patience. Which is why, even years later, that wall may fall over or explode at any moment.
So if you rule out the use of power tools in a home project as proof that you would never admit to knowing the name “Carrie Bradshaw,” what’s left?
The answer is to use your power tools for purposes that a) will void the warranty,  and b) are likely to so offend power tool purists that they will send hit men, or lawyers, or lawyers on retainer with hit men to stop you.
For examples of such innovative and distinctly male uses of power tools, let’s turn to the vast cultural archive that is YouTube.
The first example is a video by a guy who identifies himself only as “The Gareth Peasant.” Mr. Peasant prepares an entire meal using drills, saws, beer, hammers, torches, beer, clothes irons, a hubcap, beer cans, a protective face guard, and beer. He does his “cooking” in workshop that would require serious disinfection in order to be considered merely unsanitary. I’d rather stab myself in the brain with a pencil than eat one of the Gareth Peasant’s meals. But by virtue of his use of power tools there’s no question that he’s a guy.

In our next video, Chef Francois, the Power Tool Chef, offers a more sanitary,  somewhat more appetizing, and certainly better produced demonstration of food preparation techniques using a variety of power tools. Plenty of guy cred here, but I’d have to go three or four days without food before I’d tuck into any of Chef Francois's concoctions.

If relaxed sanitary standards, a cavalier attitude toward the possibility of minor industrial injuries, and a belief that metal shavings are an acceptable garnish will sufficiently validate your guyness, then cooking with power tools may be the right strategy for you.
For pure, flat-out guyishness, Power Tool Drag Racing offers the kind of excitement, spirit of competition, mind-boggling pointlessness, and extensive use of extension cords that mark it as an activity practiced by people who have to be reminded to put the seat down. Behold:

But the ultimate award for guy cred in the power tool category has to go to the people behind the unique go-kart competition held as part of the annual KMS Tools Show and Shine car show held in Coquitlam, BC -- even if they aren’t all guys.  This competition centers on a specially modified go-kart that uses a cordless drill for a motor. Various power tool companies take turns powering the kart with their drills to see whose drill is the fastest and most powerful. Really, how else would you prove the effectiveness of a device designed to make holes in things?

And that’s exactly why that drill-powered go-kart is a shining beacon of guyness for those of us who may occasionally feel the need to re-affirm our guyish tendencies. If you want to try your luck in a cage with some tatted-up monster with no neck, or trust your fate to giant rubber bands as you plummet face-first into a rocky ravine, be my guest.  I’m going with power tools. 

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1 comment:

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