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Next Week's Column: Booby Trap the Mop


Booby Trap the Mop

In honor of my summer vacation this year, I’m doing something I’ve never done in my ten or fifteen or however many years of writing this column. (How long have I been writing this, anyway? Anyone? Hm ...) I’ve reprinted my own columns every now and then, but this time, for the first time, I’m introducing a guest columnist.

Chris Durrill is a lady from the Ozarks who I met in cyberspace, through our mutual interest in writing and cult television shows. She has a daughter she dotes on, loves her Mac computer, and in many other ways is just like me except for being better looking.

Chris, who has a website at http://www.geekgirlz-r.us/chris , writes remarkably poetic fiction, some of which you can find under the penname of cagd on www.fanfiction.net. She rescues flowers as a sometimes dangerous hobby, and would be a great newspaper columnist, if she had a newspaper column. Since she doesn’t, I asked and received permission to print this piece about why men are like we are. Maybe I’ll make a comment or two along the way; or maybe I’ll just sit quietly by, hoping nobody figures out that she’s better than me:

In the otherwise forgettable movie, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, there’s a gun everybody’s after that changes your perspective – which had been developed/commissioned by a group of angry housewives who, just for once, wanted the men in their lives to see things their way.


Blast your man, and suddenly he sees that it’s a great inconvenience and imposition for him to be sitting there watching football, while everyone around him with ovaries cleans up after him. Ideally he gets up, turns off the game, and with beer in hand, actually helps around the house.

Not as in, “Honey, I just emptied an ash tray, aren’t I a good boy?” but “Here, let me do the vacuuming and I’ll pick up the pairs of dirty jeans and put them in the hamper instead of vacuuming around them.”

Yeah, right.

It’s gonna take a heck of a lot more than a consciousness raising gun.

I think a good deal of it is genetics. Men from day one were wired to go out and get that mastodon. Mastodon gotten, he and his hunting buddies fell over in an exhausted heap, whooping, “That was great! Shoulda seen Og stick the spear into that thing’s guts!” while their women and children scurried out of the cave, beat off the scavengers, and processed the meat.

Fair enough. Handling large livestock is dangerous and exhausting. You need a certain recovery time so that by the time the meat from such a large animal runs out or starts stinking, you’ve healed up and are ready to go back out again for more.

However, move forward several thousand years and the situation’s changed. Mastodons, for one, are extinct. Someone else supplies the meat, all neatly packaged with little risk of anybody getting trampled, unless you count the farmer loading the animal onto the truck, the slaughterhouse workers unloading the animal, or someone announcing at the local supermarket that there’s a half-off meat sale for the next fifteen minutes.

So, what’s a man to do when his body’s geared toward getting up every once in awhile and going after a homicidal hunk o’ meat when there ain’t a homicidal hunk o’ meat within fifty miles?

He sits around, subconsciously waiting for a hunk o’ meat that will never come, while the women in his family work around him, subconsciously waiting for him to get off his keister and go get that unavailable homicidal two tons of hairy fun for them while getting more and more annoyed.

Yes, I know, he works at a desk or a gas pump, but it’s not the same. So he substitutes: Sports. War. Golf. The sort of things that drive women nuts (Granted, there are women who have come to enjoy such forms of substitute entertainment, but that’s not what I’m talking about today).

Mentally he’s in the Space Age. Biologically he’s in the Stone Age.

How to get him up and helping around the house when he’s not wired for housework? Make housework dangerous:

Booby-trap the mop.

Salt a vial of acid in every third dust rag.

Feel the baby nitroglycerine (Better yet, tell him that you
have, but don’t). The element of risk is escalated to the point that, on the off chance that he’ll blow off the back of the house, he’ll change a dirty diaper without quibbling.

Plant land mines in the lawn. I hear Afghanistan would be happy to supply you with a nice quantity, at fire sale prices.

Hint that there’s a rattlesnake nest in the tomato patch, which by the way needs weeding.

Announce that you just noticed a school of piranha lurking in the overflowing leaf-choked gutters, and a six-foot boa constrictor slipping down the sooty chimney.

Give him a chainsaw to carve the roast with.

Supply a flamethrower to clear those weeds out by the back fence.

Tell him there’s a leak in the propane tank on the gas grill, then hand him a lighter and a pile of steaks.

(Ahem … I’ve had enough propane tank experiences, thank you – Mark)


Make it interesting.

Make it dangerous.

Make it productive.

You might have to up your family’s life insurance payments, but it might be worth it if you have the ovaries to give it a shot.

And hey, it might even save your relationship.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 28th, 2006 09:16 pm (UTC)
OMG! I love this. She's got the right idea. Thanks for bringing it to us, Mark. About to post day 2 of my con experience which I had planned on uploading some of the pics to go with it, but unfortunately I'm having to have a friend resize them cause I can't even manage that. *bangs head on desk*
Jul. 28th, 2006 11:10 pm (UTC)
Don't feel bad -- my computers gone. Fini. Kaput. World's most expensive paperweight. I've living on borrowed internet time. I suppose figuring out how to resize isn't so big a bump in the road as making your hard drive *completely disappear*.

But I'm handling it well.

Jul. 28th, 2006 10:07 pm (UTC)
Oh I love that - although my husband has today done battle with the taps (faucets) on the wash basin in the bathroom (read 'room with a bath in it', rather than 'room with a loo in it') - the possibility of water shooting up to the ceiling was obviously sufficient to spur him into action!
Jul. 28th, 2006 11:11 pm (UTC)
I believe a good portion of men have transferred their hunter instincts to that. Unfortunately, I'm the Hulk of the home repair group.

Mark smash.

Mark kill.

Water still leaking. *sigh*
Jul. 29th, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
What I didn't go on to say - but I will now let you in on the secret - is that the plumber is coming on Monday to finish the job!!!
Jul. 30th, 2006 03:58 am (UTC)
I usually call my brother or my father or, in a really bad situation, both. It seems my brother got all the mechanical ability in this generation, and I got all the writing talent. I must confess I'd rather be stuck on a desert island with him, rather than me -- I'm just no good at inventing coconut phones.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 28th, 2006 11:12 pm (UTC)
I keep telling her she needs to contact the local papers about doing a regular column, but she's one of those laid back people who'd rather enjoy writing completely, rather than deal with the editing/selling process. I think that's part of what makes her so good.
Jul. 28th, 2006 10:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks for dusting off those stereotypes. I forget what it's like in the minds of straight people.
Jul. 28th, 2006 11:15 pm (UTC)
I think the stereotypes are still truer for men than they are for women; and maybe they're truer for people who, like Chris, live further from big centers of population. But of course, like any typing, you can't fit all people into it.

as for what it's like in the minds of straight people .... it's dark in here, and there's an echo.
Jul. 28th, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC)
Hee. Cavemen win.
Jul. 28th, 2006 11:07 pm (UTC)
Og big. Hit hard.
Jul. 28th, 2006 11:57 pm (UTC)

Chris writes excellent fanfic. I'm not surprised it translate to such an entertaining column!
Jul. 30th, 2006 03:54 am (UTC)
My feelings exactly; she's in a class by herself. Actually, she's not by herself -- she's teaching the class, and we're all the students. :-)
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 30th, 2006 04:15 am (UTC)
She's worth checking out!

My computer's just teasing me -- it likes to keep me on my toes. Ironically, if it wasn't for the computer being on the fritz, I wouldn't have been checking my e-mails at the fire station yesterday when a house fire came in; it's the third fire in the row where I made the first truck out. So, maybe my Mac knew something I didn't?
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 30th, 2006 04:25 am (UTC)
Well, they're smarter than Windows machines, so they can be sneakier. :-)
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 30th, 2006 11:57 pm (UTC)
Me too, although the Windows machine hasn't worked since I bought it from my mom. I think it's pouting.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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