There’s a lot of talk about what it means to be a man nowadays.
Gender roles are shifting, after all. There’s a push for equal pay for equal work, with both sexes capable of doing the same things. And as a fairly old-fashioned guy, it leaves you wondering what remains a man’s job nowadays.
I still know what I’m good for, though: Tightening stuff.
Turning crescent wrenches. Twisting screwdrivers. Cranking Allen wrenches.
Sometimes you forget how important that extra twist of the wrist can be. I have no doubt I saved hundreds of dollars this spring simply from the sheer torque of my right hand.
It’s a good reminder, especially when you’re like me and admittedly not very handy with tools. My wife’s tool collection easily outnumbered mine four-to-one when we married. Any time I grab a tool, I stare at it for a second and think to myself “righty tighty, lefty loosey” like I learned it as a boy.
When it first started getting warm outside, we looked over the old swing set in our backyard. When we saw our 7-year-old start using it, I couldn’t help but notice that it rocked like a space shuttle ready for launch.
As I weighed the costs of replacing it, I decided to look at it a bit more closely. It had a number of screws in it that just didn’t look right. After grabbing my favorite screwdriver — anyone who says they don’t have a favorite screwdriver clearly doesn’t have more than one screwdriver — I found just how loose those screws became after years of that back-and-forth swaying.
Ten minutes later, I had our 7-year-old get back on her swing. It looked as good as new, with hardly any sway at all on the old wood frame.
It turned out that the swing’s pivot point had wiggled loose over the years. It just needed tightened back into the wood, which kept it from letting the weight of the children rock the whole structure.
The same held true for our porch swing. I went from thinking its days were numbered to thinking about how we needed to sand it and repaint it.
I found the same thing to be true with the Adirondack chairs we use around the fire pit in our yard. A couple extra turns of the tools had them working as good as new too, giving me plenty of support as I tend a campfire.
It’s a good reminder in a world full of throwaway items. So often just a little bit of maintenance will keep an item as good as new. It’s also a reminder that something as simple as a screwdriver can be the perfect tool for things that seem so complicated, especially if you’re not terribly handy and mechanically inclined.
It was all so successful, I found myself wishing someone had a screwdriver they could use to tighten up all my loose joints. Unfortunately, I haven’t found the right tool to get me functioning as good as new.