There are things every man should know how to do. A lot of them are basic survivalist things like building a shelter or pulling his head out of his a** when necessary. These are things I personally believe are things a man should have in the go-to file in his brain.
1) Deliver a puppy, kitten or child. Okay, Mother Nature takes care of most of the work but a guy should know how to assist without screwing things up. They’re all messy procedures. In the case of the kitten, mommy cat will clean herself and the kittens. Puppies get licked by mom but there’s a good shot mommy dog will clean up on the living room rug or your bed sheets. Humans need the most help, just wrap the baby tie the umbilical tube and wait for the EMTs. If none are forthcoming use the hot water every Western trained you to boil to clean mom up. Be gentle.
2) Change a water pump or fuel pump on a 289 CID Ford engine. Why? The prices the mechanics charge for labor make these jobs pretty much spare money holes. The mechanics today are trained to use computers to diagnose problems and tweak gizmos to fix the problem. These are jobs that require at least two six packs, a set of wrenches, rags and an afternoon. (I’ve done both)
3) Shave your girl friend’s or wife’s legs without nicks and fooling around. This is kind of sexy and could lead to some judicious foolin’ around. A tub of really warm water is necessary along with a personal razor (for her) and a nice soft towel. (Underarms are optional)
4) Go to the super market with a twenty item list and return in forty five minutes later with all of the items and no extras like anchovy paste for pasta sauce.
5) Watch Love Story with your significant other and bawl your eyes out (for real). You’ve all head back let it go,
6) Write a love letter to your significant other without mentioning sex or any of the obvious bodily attributes.
7) Put a full-sized fitted sheet on a bed without invoking God, the devil or using one or more of the kids as anchors on the corners.

It was forty years ago this week 0or so that Dave, Mike, Coop and I drove form New Britain Connecticut to Louisville Kentucky. It was a spur of the moment thing and we were young and single, except Dave who’s wife was kind of happy to be rid of him for a weekend. We took Dave’s station wagon and headed out on I-84 and points south. We took turns driving and when Coop woke me to take over it was apparent that we were hopelessly lost. Zanesville, Ohio wasn’t on the itinerary. It was near midnight and we were low on gas. I found a gas station and got a fill-up under the close scrutiny of some locals who were planning on what to do with our bodies and how much they’d get for the car as parts. I saw the Football Hall of Fame in the dark and when mike took over he figured a way to get us straightened out. When we arrived one small detail we’d missed became a huge problem. We parked at Churchill Downs and caught the races. The Derby was the next day and we had no place to stay. Coop thought we could stay in the track’s parking lot or in lieu of that insinuate ourselves into the trainers and jockeys area. Dave used his mastery at bargaining to get us a parking place in a campground for the meager sum of fifty bucks. I scored a six pack from a pair of Aussies and we drank. The Aussies bitched that sixteen ounces was a puny sized can and Foster’s was far superior. We listened and drank. That was the night I learned I snored when I passed out.
We were up at sunrise and we were herded out of the campground. We found breakfast at some local joint and began handicapping the races. The Derby was a lock. Secretariat was the favorite. We’d watched him at Aqueduct and Belmont. The horse was a monster. And a star. We were with the hoi polloi and were herded across the track on a wooden ramp to the infield. Dave dragged us along until we got to the top of the homestretch right on the fence. We baked in the sun and tried to score with stray females, even though any promises couldn’t be fulfilled what wit ABC and thousands of people. I had my first and only Mint Julep. It wasn’t horrible. It had all of the prior winners painted on it. ( My older niece broke it some years later. I snapped. I overreacted.) As post time approached one of the girls climbed up onto my shoulders. She grabbed onto the fence. The call to the post sounded, everything else went too fast. We saw a blur of horses pass with Secretariat in the lead. The girl climbed down and disappeared into the crowd with her friends. We followed the crowds out after the last race and headed home. On the way home, somewhere in Pennsylvania Coop piped up “How about the Preakness?” “Fuck no” came from Mike who’d curled up in the space behind the middle seat. We’d talk him into it. We had a couple weeks. I didn’t see the Preakness but I did see the Belmont Stakes. Somewhere in the detritus of my life are two win tickets on Secretariat in the Derby and the Belmont Stakes.

Be nice to one another. Give a couple bucks to the panhandler. See you in the funnies.