This afternoon I snuck out of the house to take out the garbage and decided that I’d be back in the house so soon there’d be no harm in not wearing a shirt. But as I took out the garbage, on the driveway next to my side yard was Big Joe replacing the leaf spring on his boat trailer, punctuating his hard work with sips of frosty beer from a tall glass. Big Joe is about six feet five and weighs around 260. I’m a puny six flat and 230 next to him, and do not have his mechanic skills, which he exercises on his boat trailer, his Dodge Ram, his Corvette convertible and his Harley Davidson. Also, he has a doctorate in engineering and works in the aerospace industry. So when Big Joe holds court, I listen.
So on this day two shirtless forty-something men stood in front of Big Joe’s garage (a combined weight of 490 pounds, thank you very much) while he lectured me on following Manly Talking Points:
- If he can’t change these leaf springs on his boat trailer, he’s not a real man.
- Why Brembo brakes are overrated.
- Why people make a big deal over MacPherson struts (they’re just four bolts instead of two but are overpriced).
- The difference between single beam and wishbone suspension.
- Why tequila is superior to Nyquil for fighting a cold.
Every now and then Big Joe would stop his lecture and take a sip of beer or when an unfamiliar car passed by, the two of us would give the driver a flinty glare.
My God, a half hour later I entered the house brimming with more Man Points than I’ve enjoyed since taking jiu-jitsu lessons from the Gracie family back in 2004.