Shawn Henfling lends some insight into the mind of the typical Mr. Fixit.
There is a whole subset of men who feel as though they and their manhood are defined by their ability to fix things. They are the Fixers. If you’ve got a problem, they’ll solve it. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=149jGeIlx3I) Beyond plumbing and carpentry, further still than electrical or automotive, these men place their self worth in their ability to “take care of it.” Their very existence is dependent upon solving problems. Picking up the broken bits of life to somehow fit them back together with duct tape, baling wire and spit to form a functional and sometimes better alternative is their specialty. Fixers are the men people turn to when shit has fallen apart and there seems to be no sense and order in to chaos.
What happens though when Fixers encounter an impossible problem in their own life? When a Fixer runs headlong into The Great Wall of China, everything comes to a crashing halt. Fixers become fixated and unable to function normally. They’ll get through the day somehow, fudging this and faking that, but their brain will run on a constant loop. They are stuck in the Kobayashi Maru simulation, running it endlessly in their minds without a single suitable solution. Eventually everything is crowded out as they struggle for answers that do not exist.
Fixers seek control. They aren’t necessarily overbearing, narcissistic, or abusive however. These are just guys who like to have everything well in hand. They sweat the details, make sure the T’s have been crossed and the I’s dotted. They approach problems with the perspective of a hunter tracking prey. Take time to understand the problem, approach it slowly, learn it’s weakness and move in for the kill. The same pattern is repeated endlessly as they go about their daily lives. Endlessly, that is, until crashing and burning in spectacular fashion.
When a Fixer enters the loop and fixates on a singular problem, nothing good comes of it. Negativity tends to well up from within them and emanate outward. Their mood sinks and outlook changes. Positivity feels foreign and darkness and gloom reign. Friends and family are helpless to interrupt the cycle and become spectators as the Fixer wrestles with himself in a gladiatorial match to the death.
Sometimes these problems work themselves out. Time and patience, enemies to the Fixer, are the only things needed to get around the wall. Slow down, reevaluate, adapt and move on. Fixers typically aren’t big on patience though. They want it dealt with on their schedule so they can move on and extinguish the next fire. Pauses are unforgivable interruptions and are met with disdain and hostility.
Occasionally a problem will truly have no solution. No amount of waiting or patience will force a positive outcome. The impossible situation is a nightmare scenario for a Fixer. They have no way out and know it. The fixation morphs into a tumor on their psyche. It grows roots, its grip growing tighter, squeezing the sanity and happiness from life. Fixers fear these problems above all else as it conflicts with their very nature, creating a cognitive dissonance that is nearly unbearable.
A Fixers identity, masculinity and purpose in life are deeply entwined in his ability to maintain the Fixer facade. They will sometimes suffer through endless cycles of happiness and depression as they roll through life. Fixers struggle with the ability to move beyond the unsolvable and it hampers them greatly in every facet of life. Relationships, jobs and even simple chores can harbor unseen triggers. I know. I’m the quintessential Fixer, and right now I’m trapped by a problem completely outside my own control. Getting past The Great Wall of China is no easy task, and it takes us a little while to decide the best way through it is to walk around. All we ask is that you have the patience we lack in ourselves.
Photo Credit: thefuturistics/flickr