Make My Day
DON'T FORGET THE RECLINER
by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- The biggest complaint most married Guys have is that we don't have our privacy. Just like anyone else, we need to have a space we can call our own. A place that gives us complete and utter privacy - refuge from the outside world, our Fortress of Solitude, our Sanctum Sanctorum (from the Latin, meaning "Speak English like the rest of us!").
For me, it's my garage.
Many Guys have a den or rec room, where they spend hours in front of the television, drinking beer, and flipping channels between football and the latest Victoria's Secret commercial. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I have my own office where I do that. But it doesn't always give me the solitude I need.
So whenever I need to get away from the chaos and noise of two children, two dogs, and one wife, I head out to the garage to find peace and relaxation in the soft, lilting sounds of a table saw and a router. Nothing relaxes a Guy more than risking the loss of a finger by making big pieces of wood into smaller pieces of wood. Who knows, someday I might actually build something useful.
But Guys need a garage. We have an overwhelming urge to build and create things. To use tools that cause mere mortal men to quake in fear and mumble that they only need a hammer and duct tape. And since our families get upset with us when we drag the table saw into the living room, the garage is the only place for us.
My Guy's Garage has been a nine-year-long project of constant tweaking and improvements - a real labor of love. Whether it's the carefully-installed peg board on all the walls, the phone line and cable tv hookup, or my latest masterpiece, a 12 foot workbench with an oak plywood top, my garage is becoming the envy of every Guy in the neighborhood.
At least it would be, if I allowed anyone in it.
The workbench was a major undertaking in itself. Even though we've lived in the house for nearly nine years, I didn't start building the thing until last year. That's because everything had to be perfect. I had to find the perfect lumber, the best screws, and the ideal setup for my particular needs. That, and I had to move the piles of stuff stacked against the wall.
All I need now is a beer tap and a working toilet, and everything would be perfect.
Unfortunately not everyone shares the same vision of what constitutes a perfect garage. Not only does my wife refuse to allow a beer tap or toilet out there, she gets offended when I ask "When can we get all this crap out of here?" ("crap," from the Latin meaning "stuff that's not mine."). She reminds me that her stuff is not crap, it's precious mementos from her childhood. Then she says my stuff in the basement is crap - as if a 20-year-old comic book collection or old beer making equipment can be called crap!
More recently, a friend had the audacity to question the structure and materials that went into making my workbench
"What's it made out of, a bunch of nailed-together two-by-fours?" he asked condescendingly.
"No, it's made out of fairy dust and angel farts!" I wanted to respond, but didn't (mostly because I didn't think of it at the time).
Of course it's made out of two-by-fours! That's what you build workbenches with. What else would it be made out of? It's like looking down your nose at someone and asking "so what's your skeletal structure made out of? Bones?"
Actually, the bench is made out of Southern Yellow Pine two-by-sixes and three-inch deck screws, but I didn't want to be geeky about it. That's also why I didn't mention I had smoothed out all the exposed two-by-sixes with my bench top jointer, or that the top had three coats of polyurethane.
But two-by-fours are wonderful. They're a Guy's answer to everything. Need a set of industrial-grade shelves? Start with two-by-fours. Building a picnic table for the backyard? Break out the two-by-fours. Need a lumber rack to store all of your two-by-fours? What else should you use but two-by-fours?
My entire house is made of two-by-fours and two-by-sixes. They are - literally - the backbone of 90 percent of all residential construction in this country. So if you scoff at two-by-fours, you scoff at America.
Besides, I need them to build the shelves in my garage for my "Hello Kitty" collection.