A few weeks ago I was at Wal-Mart, picking up something in the “Home Reno” section (right between the Woman’s underwear and the Dairy). Out of the corner of my eye I noticed the aisle where they keep the generators. Because I recently bought a generator, I wandered over to see what Wal-Mart had to offer.
Then it happened.
To my right one man approached and stopped, looking intently at the generators. And to my left, another man quietly strolled in and halted. For about 10 seconds all three of us stood, quietly gazing at The Generators.
The store seemed to go quiet. For a moment it felt like we were in church: Quiet, respectful and eager. We looked at the big shiny boxes, promising more Amps and Voltage than anyone can safely handle. The generators were big and heavy. Some of them seemed to have enough power that they could eat natural disasters for breakfast.
Men + Generators: Menerators!
It may have been the communion juice, or the three coffees I drank that morning… I started to think: “What is it about men and power tools?”
Do the Tools Make the Man, Or Should we Outsource and go back to Bed?
On my block I know at least two women who could bench press me and put me to man-shame because of their power tool prowess. Power tools are not a “men only” zone and some men passionately abstain from the Hand-Held Rock and Roll Machines.
“I would literally rather get my genitals pierced than have to do home repairs with power tools.” Relationship and Home Repair Guru, Jordan Gray.
“Make the Man, Tools Do Not.” (Yoda)
The tool makes the mess and the man has to clean it up. The tool makes an opening, a cavernous hole in the wall and the man needs to figure out how to fix the hole. If power tools really make the man, then I need to go shopping. All we have to do is go back to nature and remember that genitals do not require a plug in (but they do come with nuts…).
Power tools get the job done and I like that. But they also make me nervous because of the spinning blades, mere inches from my defenseless fingers. Without getting too serious, I wonder if tools are may be a way that some men express their vulnerability? When wielding a tool, we have to respect the power that is in our hands. We are in control, but the machine can never be tamed. In the face of untameable power, we have to surrender.
Some men are smart and they outsource their need to fix things. Others, like me, pretend they are in charge of the power-tool-beast. After numerous power tool mishaps, I have learned that sometimes a muzzle (for the tool… not for me) is the better option.
Man invents wheel,
Wheel runs over man.
Man has headache.
Our relationship with machines is born.
Did I not tell you we were going to church?
Power Tools Can Be a Metaphor
Power tools are more than Power + Tool (For some of us, it’s Power x Fool). For some men and women, power tools are a “Metaphor for their Betta-For…” Tools add meaning to our lives:
- Power tools have the power to create. When the power tools come out, I have no idea what is about to happen. Every time I connect with that much electricity, a child-like excitement oozes from my pores. I forget about the time I nearly electrocuted myself painting the house, or the time I flooded the kitchen trying to install the new taps.
- Power tools have power to erase the past. It’s almost as if the power tools invite us into their story and we have an opportunity to write a new chapter.
- Power tools are a good excuse to make a mess. Kid’s love to be kid’s because they get to make a mess. Kids love crayons, art, hammers and water guns because they can be explosively creative. Power tools are like an adult version of crayons, except that power tools give us power to cut through walls and shock ourselves senseless.
- Power tools are cheaper and easier to get than guns. Why is it that if we want to buy a gun we need a waiting period before we can own one, but if we want to buy power tools (awash with the power to inflict permanent damage) we can have an arsenal by noon? Maybe they should check our IQ (Intelligence Quotient) before they sell us the TQ (Tool Quotient)?
- Power tools have an untamed spirit that screams: “Anything can happen.” I love my generator. Turning it on seems to make me chill out. Having a generator makes me feel like I am The Generator. For a few minutes, I am off the grid and in-charge. I have power and I decide who I will bestow it upon. Just imagine the damage we can do?
- Power tools get things done faster, leaving nothing but memories and regret. Last summer I sanded my deck and after only 15 minutes, I was in tears. Then I bought a power sander. That thing ate wood for breakfast and never looked back. I still have marks on my deck courtesy of some over-zealous sanding, but I had a great time.
- Power tools let us pretend that we can do anything. Don’t fool yourself, your power tool is in charge! Just look at the sticker on your SAWZALL: “Warning this device is powerful and is capable of doing serious harm to your home, your person or your entire way of life. Please be cautious, wear protective eyewear and fasten your damned seatbelt.”
For some men, getting in touch with ourselves may involve a power tool. Others like to pay someone else and watch them saw things in half. However we resolve our need for power tools, one thing we know: Tools don’t make the man, Tools talk to us about the stories we are living.
If you like tools, maybe it’s time for you to have a little power-tool Church? Don’t plug them in, just gaze at them for a while. Meditate on the raw power, the Amps and the Volts. Be in awe and imagine where your power tools may take you.
Amen and pass the Generator.
Photos courtesy of smswaby.