Manly men use government-issue toilet paper and tools with cords

Back in the day — and I mean way, way back — men wore loincloths, painted their faces, and went out with spears to hunt down a beast so the family could eat. Back then, manly tasks like hunting and building made it clear what men did and what they stood for.

But now, with smart phones, Netflix, and 0-percent down, 36-month leases, there's not as many manly things for us guys to do. This is a problem — men still want and need to be men, after all.

So I thought I'd list a few manly things I do, since I'm first and foremost a manly man (my cell phone isn't even a smart phone, so there).

One manly thing I do is use government-issued toilet paper. That's no big deal, you say? Well let me ask you this: Would you like to wipe with paper that was purchased from the lowest bidder? I didn't think so. Manly men with government jobs do this all the time, and we hardly ever complain about it.

I like to get these big jars of pretzels at the buyers’ club. They're great but they must have a gorilla putting the lids on, because opening them is surely a manly task.

What works for me is sitting in a chair with the big jar wedged between my vice-like legs, and then clutching and twisting the lid with both hands until the lid breaks free. This is actually quite a good upper-body exercise, and the accompanying grunting noises are sure to entertain all nearby. You didn't think opening pretzels could be a manly activity, but it is.

The electric drill is probably the most useful tool ever invented, and these days just about everyone has switched to battery power for the convenience and freedom. But real men take on the big jobs, and that means corded tools.

I still have corded versions of drills and saws, and trying to do good work while not tripping over the cord is very manly indeed. I always lay sheets of plywood on top of boards and cut them flat with a corded circular saw, and half the battle there — besides keeping the chips out of your eyes — is watching where the cord goes. Manly men know how to do this instinctively.

You ever pull into a gas station and see cars lined up because they're waiting for a pump on the "right side?" You know, if the gas cap is on the left, they want a pump on the left, etc.

Well, as a Manly Man, I'm proud to say I can pump from either side, thank you. Yes, I sometimes have to drag the hose over the car but what the hey, it makes the whole process a little more interesting so that's a plus. Manly men would rather struggle with the dang hose than wait.

I also do my own oil changes. On a nice day with the garage door open and the music blasting, it's not half bad, but doing them in the winter is not so much fun I'll admit. Oil changes involve lying on my back under the car with hot oil dripping down my arm right past my face.

I do save money, of course, but there's extra laundry to do I know, and the spills can be messy. Ironically, I just bought a car where the only way to keep the warrantee valid is by letting them do the oil changes, so I may not be doing so many from now on.

But check this out: If you have front-wheel drive, you have CV joints protected by rubber bellows knows as boots. When I do my oil changes, while I'm under there, I always apply rubber protectant to my boots, so my expensive CV joints will stay protected.

Meanwhile, the boots I wear on my feet are all worn out and dirty. Isn't it something that the boots I own that you can't see are beautiful, while the boots I own that you can see are a mess? That's how my life always works out.

I also do the following manly things at various times:

— Eat broccoli without oil and garlic;

— Listen to LP records;

— Drink unfancy black coffee;

— Get dressed in the dark so as not to wake the wife (that's why I often have two different socks on);

— Drink out of water fountains; and

— Eat raw clams (don't laugh — a local restaurant wanted me to sign a statement before serving me raw clams).

As you can imagine, there are some things a manly man like me will never do, I never:

— Run with scissors (Mom was right);

— Answer the phone (it's always for my wife or a telemarketer so why bother);

— Watch any movies or TV shows about doctors or hospitals;

— Order anything "small";

— Wear sandals with that strap between the toes (ouch!);

— Use any product that is "scented"; or

— Throw anything out of a moving car window.

Back in the day, it was easy to tell who the manly men were; today not so much. But, as long as there are oil changes to do and things to put together and stuff to be moved and strong black coffee, we'll be OK.

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