Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

December 2, 2008

Fixing The Flux Capacitor: 25 Things Every Man Should Know How To Do

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — 30tocure30 @ 11:17 pm


What Do You Mean There Is No Flux Capacitor Under The Hood???

What Do You Mean There Is No Flux Capacitor Under The Hood???



Mornings in the Ripa household tend to be massive chaos. Granted, it is semi-controlled, but it is chaos nonetheless. Today started much the same as any other. At the slightest bit of sunlight our spastic cockapoo Rocco starts yelping uncontrollably as he attempts to make his presence known to everyone on our block. This marks the beginning of a time honored game Jenn and I learned shortly after having kids. It is called the “lay absolutely still while playing dead then slowly begin to toss and turn just enough to nudge your spouse in hopes their willpower is broken so they get up and deal with the issue at hand” game. 

After stuffing my head between two pillows does nothing to muffle the sound, I throw on some gym shorts and take Rocco out only to be greeted by pouring down rain. Since it is a blistering 40 degrees today and Rocco weighs a whopping 10 pounds soaking wet, shivering ensues and he heads right back to the door refusing to do his “business.” Dragging him back in the yard, we engage in a battle of wills. I don’t mind so much as I live with all women and this is the closest I get to a testosterone test.  Coming out victorious, I rejoin the chaos already in progress that is the potty dance, getting dressed, eating breakfast and the ultimate challenge of putting in hair pretties. These events all take place in the midst of tantrums and meltdowns by the kids and on occasion by the adults as well. Madison has just finished putting on her third handpicked outfit of the morning. Good to know that fashion is surprisingly of utter importance in the life of a pre-schooler.

Already late we head back out into the rainstorm and hop in my “in town” car – a 2002 Ford Focus. Inserting and turning the keys only produces a click-click-click sound. Another battle of wills and this time the Focus isn’t budging. He’s dead set on not moving today. Great…. just great.

As Jenn chauffeurs Mad and me to school and work, I am fuming and also slightly embarrassed. My best guess is the issue with the car is only a dead battery, but I am not what you call a grease monkey. Tools and cars were never part of my childhood. It’s hard for me to admit, but I’ve never changed my own oil, jump started a car or fixed a flat tire. If I were to open up the hood of a car, I’d have a better chance of locating the flux capacitor than the alternator. A basic knowledge of car maintainence is probably something I should possess. My line of thinking is confirmed when I come across an online article from Popular Mechanics about the 25 Things Every Man Should Know How To Do:


The List: How to…

1. Patch a radiator hose

2. Protect your computer

3. Rescue a boater who has capsized

4. Frame a wall

5. Retouch digital photos

6. Back up a trailer

7. Build a campfire

8. Fix a dead outlet

9. Navigate with a map and compass

10. Use a torque wrench

11. Sharpen a knife

12. Perform CPR

13. Fillet a fish

14. Maneuver a car out of a skid

15. Get a car unstuck

16. Back up data

17. Paint a room

18. Mix concrete

19. Clean a bolt-action rifle

20. Change oil and filter

21. Hook up an HDTV

22. Bleed brakes

23. Paddle a canoe

24. Fix a bike flat

25. Extend your wireless network


For those counting at home, of the “25 Tasks Every Man Should Know How To Do” I can complete 6 total tasks (in bold) and that might even be a stretch. I guess you can call me the Bobby Crosby of manliness. Don’t know who Bobby Crosby is? That is exactly my point. You don’t see kids jumping up and down after opening a pack of baseball cards yelling “Yes, I got that subpar .240 hitter who plays shortstop for the Oakland A’s rookie card!!!! What is his name again?” Sadness hits in when you have to come to grips that your manliness is on par with Shaquille O’Neal’s free throw percentage. This is definitely not something you want to go bragging to your friends about. One of the reasons few men grow or develop is they are terrified to admit a lack of knowledge, show weakness or suffer plain embarrassment over having to ask someone for help.


When an athlete is trying to improve their swing they spend extra time in the batting cage. Repetition helps hone their skills. The same actions are needed when it comes to my pursuit of becoming a “man.” Over the next several weeks, I’ll be engaging in what I like to call TESTOSTORNE TESTS where I learn a new skill or compete in feats of manly strength. Some will be silly. Others will be serious. And there will be one where I’ll be asking for audience participation (more details on this later, but it involves something called the Meat Sweats).  Yet, they all will be for the good of the project. These tests will be interspersed with my reflections on what being a man is all about. Hopefully, this gives readers a framework for the month that lies ahead.


  1. Well I got 19 out of 25 but I think you and I need to add a number 26. The “hair pretty’s” are a true man challenge. I have had some moderate success with the barret, but zero with the ponytail holder things. My 5 year old Gracie all but cries when its daddy’s problem to fix the hair. She will even tell me ” no daddy, just leave my hair down, you cant fix it right” For a bald guy like me who has always been the antithesis of metro, fixing hair might as well be brain surgery.

    Comment by chris wilson — December 4, 2008 @ 9:26 am

  2. I had eight. Mostly of the camping, computer, and car mishaps persuasion. He he he… So, I’m calculating my batting average… .320. Matt Holliday. Sweet. He he he.

    Yeah, I have an embarrassing lack of knowledge about a lot of things too. I felt like a man the other day when I replaced a headlight in my car. I got greasy, sweated a little, and even bled. FREEEDOM!

    I’m looking forward to the challenge.

    Comment by Paul Mannino — December 4, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

  3. Im not sure how I came across this article, but I’m glad that I did. You’ve written a wonderful piece in an amazing way that captures the stresses of family life from a man filled with passion and love for his family in a way that makes you want to smile. (Noted, I can do 8) Not going to touch on your self concious sense of masculinity. But, your sense of humor is great. I’m curious, definetly, about your challenge and will keep checking back for updates.

    Comment by Alliyah — April 24, 2009 @ 10:16 pm

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