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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stuff you should know how to do

A friend forwarded a list to me over the weekend with the unlikely title: "25 things every man should know how to do by the time he is 18".

I immediately deleted about half the stuff (unlikely Rambo/Jason Bourne field-craft that has no relevance to the typical man's life), and started adding stuff that the list-maker(s) had forgotten.‎  Then I did the most important thing of all; I eliminated the gender bias.

So simply put, I don't care if you are a man or a woman... by the time you reach adulthood (however you define that) you should know how to do every single one of the following (for the sake of others, if not for yourself):

Change a tire

Perform the Heimlich maneuver and CPR

Perform basic first aid

Sew on a button and fix a split seam

Iron a shirt

Replace a faucet washer

Spackle, masking tape and paint a room

Carve a turkey and a roast

Parallel park (in one try)

Drive a stick shift

Build a fire

Use basic power tools

Mow a lawn

Use a search engine effectively

Know basic world history covering at least the last 300 years

Know basic geography and politics of the world as it is today

Prepare 3 different styles of coffee

Brew and serve loose tea

Open a bottle of regular and sparkling wine

Mix a minimum of 10 basic cocktails

Prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner without consulting a cook book

Know how to cook at least 4 different kinds of eggs

Bake pastry and bread from scratch

Have at least one signature dish/meal for which you are known

Order, eat, pay and tip in a fancy restaurant

Use a full place setting correctly (and in the right order)

Be a good houseguest (the kind people will invite back)

Be a gracious host

Hang a picture

Unclog a toilet or sink

Pay a compliment

Accept a compliment

Apologize sincerely

Introduce people correctly

Host a dinner party

Chair a meeting


Use a compass

Read a map

Pump gas

Make a short, informative public speech

Touch type

Change a diaper

Use a washing machine and dryer

Jump start a car

Check oil and other automotive fluid levels

Shine a pair of shoes

Tie a Windsor knot (full and half)

Tie a bow-tie

Tie a square, bowline and slip knot

Use chopsticks

Shake hands correctly

Wrap a gift

Write a memorable thank you note

Know a joke or entertaining story appropriate for any crowd (and tell it well)

Tie and bait a fish hook

Scale and clean a fish

Cut a whole chicken properly into 1/8ths

Say no without giving offense

Say yes without looking like a pushover

Use a computer (Windows and Mac)

Pack a (light) suitcase

Give excellent driving directions

Balance a checkbook

Select good produce

Offer condolences at a funeral

Deliver an impromptu toast at a wedding or dinner party

Know how much you can drink before you are effectively impaired

Take a friend's car keys away in such a way that they hug you instead of hitting you

Give a friend your car keys without being asked

Posted by David Bogner on July 24, 2011 | Permalink


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I would add:

Recognize spam without clicking on the link.

Take good phone messages.

Follow a subway or bus map in any city (at least those with a Roman alphabet)

Use a manual can opener

Make a bed

Clean a toilet

Wash dishes without wasting water

Take a five-minute shower

Speak without saying "like"

Spell and punctuate properly in your native language

Speak another language well enough to have a basic conversation

Ask someone out on a date

Hold your temper

Play with a little kid

Fold laundry

Posted by: Sarah B. | Jul 24, 2011 12:15:09 PM

Start up a barbecue
Build a tent

Posted by: Sarah B. | Jul 24, 2011 12:29:24 PM

Sarah B... Nah, that's all girl stuff. [ducking and running away]. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jul 24, 2011 12:29:45 PM

Trep, I agree with about 3/4 of your list (maybe more), but a few leave me scratching my head. 10 cocktails? Carve a turkey? Full Windsor? Bowtie? Even though we live just a few miles apart, it's like we're in different universes :)

Posted by: Avi | Jul 24, 2011 12:36:32 PM

Avi... Like I said, it may not all be for you (i.e. the cocktails might make you a better host), and while we don't see a lot of neckties here, when abroad on business or on a fancy cruise... who knows!

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jul 24, 2011 2:56:06 PM

Now I feel really bad about myself...

Posted by: Lila | Jul 24, 2011 3:13:15 PM

Now I feel really bad about myself...

Posted by: Lila | Jul 24, 2011 3:13:15 PM

What about one's marital duties??!!!!

Posted by: aparatchik | Jul 24, 2011 6:44:54 PM

Between us, Morey & I can do them all - including Sarah B's additions. Does that count? Individually, I am lost on anything having to do with meat, although I think I could figure out how to carve a turkey. And while I *can* bait a fish, I would never EVER want to do that again. Likewise with offering condolences at a funeral. I can, but I never want to have to.

Posted by: Alissa | Jul 24, 2011 6:48:10 PM

How WELL do you have to be able to do all this?

Posted by: 2senseplain | Jul 24, 2011 9:01:10 PM

How WELL do you have to be able to do all this?

Posted by: 2senseplain | Jul 24, 2011 9:01:10 PM

Now I really feel inadequate.

Posted by: Baila | Jul 25, 2011 12:29:06 AM

Your list is more fun than Heinlein's list. :)

To be fair, Heinlein's list is at least forty years old, and his crowd wasn't into mixed drinks AFAIK.

Posted by: Maureen | Jul 25, 2011 2:52:44 AM

As RAH said,"Specialization is for insects." Its not so much that we have specifics on a list but that we have a list in the first place.

Posted by: Old Fat Sailor | Jul 25, 2011 12:16:17 PM

David -

I put up my own list on my Facebook page (I tagged you), and my sister objected that some of the items are irrelevant for 18-year-olds and can reasonbly be "learned when you need it." Here is my response to her. I would love to hear your thoughts:

Some of the items are not there because you need the knowledge in a practical way right now. It's because being able to do certain practical things makes you a better person in some way. For example, knowing how to bake bread from scratch gives you a certain knowledge and appreciation about food that is important. Being able to change a diaper not only means that you can help out a parent in a pinch (making you a more useful person) but also means that you have had a certain amount of exposure to babies, which changes you.

Posted by: Sarah B. | Jul 25, 2011 12:32:45 PM

A great list. And I especially enjoyed the impromptu toast one, seeing as I did that at your wedding.
Some Jewish additions:

Make Kiddush
Set up a Seder Plate
Make Havdalah
Set up a Sukkah

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Jul 26, 2011 12:49:19 AM

3 styles of coffee? I'm not sure I know what you mean - like espresso, instant, and irish? :)

Posted by: Tanya | Jul 31, 2011 5:21:25 AM

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