Peeing on the Lawnmower

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“Sam, have you seen my scissors anywhere? I’m one hundred and ten percent positive that they should be right here next to my golden idol,” she insisted.

“I don’t touch your stuff, Delilah!” he shot back defensively. “Besides, you’re the one who usually misplaces my stuff. I still can’t find my donkey’s jawbone, and yesterday some of the fellas and me planned to slay a bunch of those goofy Philistines. The guys all showed up with their bones and axes and I brought along zippo!” he complained, a little too sissy-like for the empire’s strongest man and destroyer of large armies.

Dee knew the exact location of Sam's dried jawbone – underneath his pile of sandals and dirty togas, which she planned on cleaning when she got around to it. She had used the bone to tenderize some lion steaks for dinner. All of his macho head games and silly antics were starting to tick her off. She recommitted herself to finding those damn scissors.      

Mark your territory and personal belongings early on during marriage. Concentrate on what’s really important to you, things that will ruin your life if they’re misused, missing or, worse yet, misunderstood by your spouse. Using those criteria, pee on your lawnmower, hammer, Philips screwdriver, TV remote control, bottle opener, Nickelback t-shirt, snow blower and belt sander.  Stake a claim by leaving behind your distinctive scent. If you don’t mark private possessions, then your “stuff” enters the public marriage domain and your life becomes worthless. Or, at a minimum, pathetic.

Let’s review why this “stuff” is so important. The following are several examples of my own essential “stuff,” some of which may overlap with your significant “stuff.” The specific “stuff” is not all that important. Like most things in life, the real value of “stuff” comes from measuring its emotional equity versus calculating retail price. Wouldn’t you agree? Sure you do.

Hammer.  No other garage tool defines manhood in the way that a hammer does. And please don’t let me find out that you store hammers in other locations, like in the laundry room, pantry or in a kitchen drawer. Every version of the Husband of the Year written exam always contains this question: “Where are hammers stored in your main residence of marriage?” One wrong location automatically disqualifies contestants – only “basement” and “garage” are acceptable. Immediate disqualification can also occur during the background check if judges discover that you and your spouse own clothes that match (socks count).

Never, ever lend a hammer to your wife. It will vanish without a trace. Then someday, about three or four years later, you’ll receive a phone call from police in Lithuania asking you to fly to their headquarters to identify your hammer. The cops will lift bloody fingerprints from the handle and link you to an international serial killer named “Hannibal Hans.”

Phillips screwdriver.  A tool named after a real guy? I’d relinquish a Superbowl ring or an Olympic gold medal to permanently affix my name on a hammer or pliers or any non-power tool. What a lifetime prize! Like sharing an airline seat with Clint Eastwood. Or being offered a sugar cookie at the DMV.

Ever wondered how the Phillips screwdriver got its name? The hardware industry named it after Henry F. Phillips from Portland, Oregon, who invented it back in the 1930s, according to tool folklore. Sometimes it’s difficult to assign proper acknowledgment for inventions, even when history is quite certain, because there are so many men constantly taking credit for somebody else’s discovery, especially with tools.

I discovered the flange. Honestly! And the stud finder.

(next post: more heart-wrenching stories about tools and stuff)