Posted on February 22, 2019
by Steve Janowick

What to buy your son for his birthday?

After ninety posts and tons of feedback, I think I have a pretty good grasp of who my core audience is. And it would be a safe bet to assume that a descent percentage of you cats know your way around a tool box.  After all, the classic man is self-reliant. When at all possible, you handle your own business. You may not be the second coming of Bob Vila, but you can certainly turn a screw in the right direction. You can even install a garbage disposal and change the oil in your car if need be.

This is the CMX man…and was probably the CMX boy as well.

I remember asking for, and getting, my first tool box for my 17th birthday.  In my head, at that age, I had already begun to define and construct an image.  An image of what it meant to be a real man. A man’s man. Someone who could take care of things.  Someone who was rugged and tough. I may not have been any of those things at that time-but I knew that’s what I was striving for.  And being handy with tools and knowing how to fix things were essential if I wanted to get there.

I tinkered a little as a kid.  But I certainly wasn’t inclined to be a master mechanic or work in any of the trades.  None of it came natural to me. But that didn’t matter. I still wanted to know the basics and know enough to be self-reliant and self-assured.  In my mind, that was the ultimate measure of a man. Can my loved ones rely on me as the man of the house? So, through the years I’d buy a new drill here or socket set there.  And when the time came for any fixing? By golly, I was gonna do it! I was the man for the job, baby!

Until…I’d screw it up so bad that my wife would make me call the professionals.  But dammit, I tried. I had the gumption…and the tools to do the job. Just a little light on the expertise part.

What I’m getting at is that kids today don’t seem to want to own tools like the kids of yesteryear.  They don’t have that itch to want to fix things on their own. They don’t want to fiddle and tinker. I’m sure there are many exceptions, but most would rather get the latest greatest video game ten times out of ten over a new circular saw.  The way they define themselves as young men is…well…different. Good or bad, there’s no denying it’s different. They don’t seem to correlate being handy with being manly. In front of the television with his best buddies, a huge bag of Doritos, Mountain Dews abound and his best wireless controller-that is the 2019 version of a teenager.

Whereas, the teenager from 1980 had his head buried under the hood of his Chevy Nova, tools sprawled everywhere, Van Halen cranked, a Marlboro red dangling from his lips, trying like hell to get a few extra horses from the four-barrel.

The lesson in this rant?  How about replacing just one of the video games you were going to give your son for his birthday-and give him a toolbox with a few tools in it.  Guarantee it’ll spark the inner handyman in him…

And he’ll be changing the oil in his Honda Fit in no time!

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