I am a man of many talents.
Actually, that’s not quite right. I am a man with a modest number of talents.
Okay – I can sense your eyes rolling, dear reader – I’ll admit it; I am a man of few talents.
There are men in the world who take a look at a house or a car, nod their heads sagely and say to themselves:
“I can do wonders with that.”
Such men really are talented; they can build houses and turn old bangers into classic cars. They have at their disposal dextrous skills that can perform minor miracles with just a few ingredients, like a hammer a screwdriver and a chisel.
These guys are like MacGyver - only better.
I am not one of those men. Moreover, such men look at me as if I have just crawled out of a primeval swamp.
Why? Because when I pick up a screwdriver, I stare at it with a mixture of dread and fear. I may be quite intelligent but when it comes to DIY I am an absolute dunce.
DIY stores fill me with dread.
I hate DIY.
I hate DIY stores.
I am crap at DIY.
I don’t understand DIY.
DIY reduces me to an angry, gibbering, brainless moron.
I am surrounded by men who are good at DIY and I am convinced that such men look down at me.
“He ain’t a real man – he can’t even change a fuse.”
To be honest, I’m not as bad as I have just made you believe, dear reader. I can do simple tasks like putting up shelves, hanging wallpaper (with a little help), connecting light fittings, building furniture and decorating.
My problem is that I know my limitations and while I may be adventurous in some areas, DIY is one of those disciplines where I see the potential consequences of my failures and shy away from them. I would never even begin to consider attempting anything to do with plumbing, knocking down walls or constructing anything from a tree.
Hand me a computer and I will attempt anything. My determination knows no bounds in cyberspace. At work I will not stop until I have solved a problem.
Yet when confronted with a DIY task I will examine the possible outcomes and, if I think there is even the slightest chance of disaster, I will not attempt it.
Yet I have friends, who are willing and able to turn their hand to more adventurous pursuits and some of them look down on me. Such men always begin their sentences with the same words:
“All you need to do is …”
And then the rest is gibberish. I don’t understand what they are telling me. It is as if they have had a massive injection of testosterone and start speaking a new language that only real men can understand.
“All you need to do is, disconnect the capillary sprocket from the wing bobbit, knock down the adjoining wall, reconnect the grong dongle to the manflux pully and then screw in the flange wibbit. It’s a piece of piss.”
All I hear is
“All you need to do is LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA! It’s a piece of piss.”
Mrs PM’s dad is one of these real men. He has ripped out kitchens and replaced them with new ones, built bathrooms and all sorts of wonderful things.
“I wouldn’t pay anybody to do that,” he says to me. “It’s simple. All you need to do is LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA! It’s a piece of piss.”
I feel like an alien when I walk into a DIY store. It seems to me that all of the helpful assistants are snakes. I don’t mean that to sound bad – it’s just that if I ask a question, they hiss at me.
“You want to do WHAT???? And you plan to buy THAT???????”
followed by the inevitable sharp intake of breath and the unspoken words
“ARE YOU A COMPLETE MORON?????”
And of course the inevitable:
“All you need to do is LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!”
Ultimately I end up paying joiners, plumbers and builders to do a proper job for me. I can understand the buzz of achievement if you are talented enough to build a new kitchen but the cost is too much. It could be a total disaster and it will take much longer to achieve the same results.
I have not had any disasters as a result.
I know people who have and they have ended up having to fork out loads of money to fix them.
Even simple things like painting. Believe it or not there are guys who are less talented than me. One guy I know (who shall forever remain nameless) was redecorating a room – a simple enough task – but he somehow (don’t ask me how) managed to spill and entire pot of paint onto a brand new carpet. A simple accident maybe – but a costly disaster nonetheless.
The downside is that it costs more money to get things done properly. Mrs PM and I have spent a fortune fixing our house. I have attempted some of the necessary tasks myself and I am proud of that. But whenever there has been any doubt, I have turned to professionals.
And I am glad.
Before I finish, let me just say that I am not sexist at all and there are a large number of women I know who will undertake a major DIY project with great success.
And do you know what they say to me?
“All you need to do is LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA! Are you a DUNCE?”
Yes I am - but I am not as bad as this guy: