Learning to Cry Uncle Humbling

This week I believe I finally fell into the category of ‘wuss’.

For those of you who are not particularly familiar with the schoolyard definition, ‘wuss’ is generally not a term of endearment. As a matter of fact, the words – and its colorful synonyms – are even used in the adult world.

“What happened to you?” my wife asked the other day.

“Looks like I twisted my back,” I said.

People twist their backs all the time – many times in the middle of performing glamorous or dramatic situations. Maybe while running from a burning house with a box filled with dozens of kittens. Others while lifting an overturned tanker on the side of an interstate while rescuers race to the scene.

Me, I twisted my back making the bed.

Talk about a story you don’t want to tell your friends over a few beers.

Around our home, my mechanical skills are legendary.

“Let me ask,” said an electrician once to my wife after being called to our home, “did your husband happen to install this ceiling fan?”

Even with instructions, some of us are better off not owning tools.

Last week I found myself with a broken yard blower. The pull cord handle somehow pulled off my nearly new, bright red unit.

After a quick trip to the hardware store I picked up a $6 part and began to tear down the unit.

When you find yourself searching through the house for a simple screwdriver, you could consider this an indication you might be over your head. My dad always told me true mechanics protect their tools like family. Well, I found the lost ‘member of the family’ upstairs my wife’s laundry room. Darn kid must’ve wandered off.

Within a few minutes I’d removed the protective housing and placed the screws in an orderly fashion so I might remember how to reassemble it afterwards. I then began to carefully remove the round wheel where the remnant of the white cord was anchored.

“Hey,” I said to myself, “I can do this.”

Well, an hour later I found myself replacing my tools and lifting the half repaired unit in the back of our SUV for delivery to the nearest small motor repair shop.

A while later my wife found me stewing in my misadventure. No matter who you are, these things can eat at you. Egos are particularly sensitive on the male side about such things.

She then uttered a few words of encouragement, words laced with love and support.

“Honey,” she said, “don’t worry, you can still put air in the tires on the car.”

Suddenly I found myself being transported back decades to the days of elementary school, the days of when we all began to understand the power of words as weapons.

But today, as my lower back is barking at me after me making the bed and my blower is across town sitting on the bench of a local small engine repair shop, I know when concede the ‘uncle’.

– 30 –


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