How often some adult confesses to me “I’m not musical” and I respond with: “You’re more musical than you think you are and I’m going to prove it to you.” And then I do.
How often I say to myself, “I’m not handy around the house.” Without anyone around to say “You’re handier than you think you are.”
When it comes to such things, my wife usually takes over and I’m happy to let her. I’ve had small moments when I’ve doubted my manhood— aren’t all men supposed to be handy? Be able to fix things? Be fascinated by engines and machines and such? But I’ve never been that guy. And in some chicken-egg dynamic, my lack of interest guarantees that I don’t get better at it and my feeling of incompetence guarantees that I won’t ramp up my interest.
To give you an idea of the level of my incompetence: When my wife first met me, I was struggling figuring out how to open up child-proof aspirin bottles. I have learned how to fix our running toilet and if push comes to shove, I can change a flat tire, but my skills are really dismally low and my interest in improving them even lower.
So when two different window shades broke a couple of days ago with my wife away in Michigan, I had several choices:
1) Wait until she gets back for her to deal with it.
2) Find someone I can pay to come and fix it.
3) Ask my upstairs neighbor (a very handy guy) for help.
4) Figure it out myself.
So I sat myself down and looked myself in the metaphorical eye and said:
• If you can play Bach on the piano, you probably have the physical skills to turn a screwdriver.
• If you can write nine books, you probably have the intelligence to figure out what needs to be done with each shade to get it working again.
• If you can prove to other people that they’re better than think they are, musically and sometimes in other ways, you can pay yourself the same respect.
And so I set to work. And lo and behold, after much trial and error, I did it! I’m so proud!
But just between you and me, I’m not going to pull down either shade. At least until my wife comes home.