It’s a guy thing

Published 9:23 am Thursday, January 14, 2016

On any given Saturday morning (with the possible exception of football season), the parking lot at the nearest big-box building supply mega-store is chocked full of pickup trucks and pickup truck wannabes (think old mini-vans, minus the back two rows of seats).

There, all the weekend warrior builder and builder wannabes (think ambitious skilled labor, minus most of the skill) gather inside the Temple of DIY to ready materials, tools and other implements of destruction for a half-fast attack on a tightly scheduled weekend project — thirty-six hours of knuckle scraping, muscle straining, and curse word creating.

It is a ritual — a spiritual quest — a guy thing.

Here’s how it works: A guy gets up on Saturday morning and drinks his coffee, reads the paper, and makes a material list. After that, it’s head for the lumber yard, jabber-jaw with all the other guys getting stuff for their weekend projects, and then head home to make sawdust (or drywall dust, or concrete dust, or anything else ending in “dust”).

Once he gets started, leave him alone until he’s done — or runs out of beer. However, bowing to the requirements of honesty, for a lot of weekend warriors, the “beer” part gets in the way of the “done” part.

Usually, within four to six weeks (give-or-take a month or two), that weekend project will be completed (almost).

It’s a guy thing — it is better to ask “when” I will get it done rather than “if” I will get it done (nagging only adds to the timeline).

A self-help guru once wrote a book, gave boatloads of lectures and made buckets full of money telling folks about how we shouldn’t look at complicated situations as “problems,” but as “opportunities.” Any Saturday morning, weekend-warrior kind of guy will mumble some sort of creative curse word at such a notion. Opportunities have two possible outcomes: “I can do this right” or “I can really mess this up.”

As Ragnar Thorbjorn once said so succinctly, “Embedded, someplace deep within a guy’s DNA, is the need to solve problems and fix things.”

According to the official Guy Code, problems are just that — problems. The sooner a guy admits he has a problem, the sooner he can start working on a solution. The sooner he has a solution, the sooner he can get it fixed. Solutions have only one possible outcome: “Problem solved.”

Granted, solutions will vary from guy to guy (it’s an individual guy thing). Give 10 guys the same problem and you will probably get eleven solutions (one guy will have two solutions and won’t be able to decide which one to do — most of his Saturday will be spent researching the pros and cons, leaving little time for creating new curse words).

For instance, the problem may be that a garage is dilapidated, ramshackled, and the local code enforcement has deemed it to be a detriment to the world as a whole. One guy’s solution may be to grab the nearest bulldozer (because there is always one nearby when you need it), push the garage over, and “gently” pulverize the structure into toothpicks.

Another guy’s solution may be to grab the nearest oxygen/acetylene torch (again, because everyone has one just laying around) and turn the garage into a s’more factory.

Both solutions solve the problem — the garage no longer exists. However, should the s’more factory solution inadvertently result in the ignition of the neighbor guy’s garage — well — that’s the other guy’s “opportunity.”


Larry Wilson is a mostly lifelong resident of Niles. His optimistic “glass full to overflowing” view of life shapes his writing. His essays stem from experiences, compilations and recollections from friends and family. Wilson touts himself as “a dubiously licensed teller of tall tales, sworn to uphold the precept of ‘It’s my story; that’s the way I’m telling it.’” He can be reached at