I'll come up with something in a minute.

Things not to know

Every time I see a list like this 75 Skills Every Man Should Master I end up rolling my eyes.

Two Reasons: One, if a man should know how to do it then so should a woman. Two, about half of these leave me with the firm belief that the writer is an idiot.

I’ll admit that points 3, 9, 12, 14, 20, 23, 34, 35, 44, 61, and 72 aren’t entirely stupid. They are sometimes worded clumsily or their extra written bits over do it, but they contain some bits that I would suggest an adult know how to do. There is that feeling of “I can see you’re trying to help” but it gets buried in bullshit. I’m not going to pick the list apart point by point, but I’ll go for the worst in the bunch.

My problems started with the second item.
2. Tell if someone is lying.
Yeah, you can’t. Nope, unless you already know that they are lying (and even then most people get the wrong answer) you really can’t tell. If someone is even halfway good at it, you need about a year of training to figure out when a person is being dishonest and it comes down to what they call micro-expressions that most people can’t even begin to recognize. Cops, lawyers, judges, used car salesmen, none of them ever judge any higher than chance when tested on who is or isn’t lying. Even when people are trained to spot them, they only break around 80%.

And then at the fourth suggestion is useless
4. Score a baseball game.
Why? I will never ever need that. Learning anything sports related is entirely useless to me. No, really. The only situation that I would ever need to know how to score a Baseball game would rely on someone having a gun to my head, and then my thoughts are going to be far more on taking the gun away so I can kill the person, who won’t be paying attention because they’re watching a baseball game. By the way, always grab the wrist (pushing away from you) and hit them in the mid-section at the same time. When you double strike like this they never pay attention to their hand. Some might argue the point, but it has worked in the past. If you’re lucky, they’ll have given you a pen or pencil to score with, that’s a lethal weapon right there, use it!

The thirteenth is dangerous
13. Throw a punch.
No, no, NO! Punching is a pointless pursuit, particularly in hand to hand fighting. You won’t do much harm to them and you could break the bones in your hand. Unless you really know how, you will telegraph the hell out of your punches anyway. Don’t learn to throw a punch, learn how to take a punch. Better yet learn how dodge a punch! Then, learn how to grab the wrist of the puncher, twist their arm behind them, and tell them in a calm and level voice that if they don’t stop being a jerk you’ll break their arm in six places. You’d be surprised how a calm and level voice can catch a person’s attention when you’re causing them agony. This is not theory, I’m speaking from the authority of experience here. No one ever picked on me more than twice in high school. I prefer approaching fighting like Archimedes. All levers and fulcrums and not just smacking things until they fall over.
Let’s match this up with number 53. Sometimes, kick some ass.
No. That isn’t a skill. I’m far more interested in the person who knows that the best way is to not have to kick ass anyway. Again, if I’m holding someone’s hand so that they can scratch the back of their head, or I’m pressing on the pressure points on their neck, I don’t need to kick their ass. Fighting is costly in energy, it’s time consuming, and the longer it goes on the more likely someone will get a lucky (or unlucky as the case maybe) shot and cripple the other person for life. You can more easily win by letting the other person know quickly and relatively painlessly how far you’re willing to take it. If they know they’ve got to fight you until one of you is dead, 98% of all people will back the fuck down. Granted, you do have to hold the other 2% down until help arrives or you’re forced to kill them, but that was going to happen anyway with that 2%.

60 is genuinely stupid
60. Be brand loyal to at least one product.
Yes… because that’s what you want to be, the sort of person that can be pointed to as a brand whore. Being a brand whore means you never look for anything better, and will always excuse the product even if it goes to shit. No company should ever get a free pass, you should always look for the best products you can afford and you should always test around to make sure that you are getting the best. If you need the cultural awareness of where you can from, try looking in the mirror. If you start to think you are your brand, then you will become your khakis. And then… I have to kill you for making me quote Fight Club.

Point five (5. Name a book that matters. The Catcher in the Rye does not matter. Not really. You gotta read.) looses points for saying that Catcher in the Rye doesn’t matter. Anytime someone says “Book X is pointless and not worth discussion” I invariably look at that person as a twat. You have no idea what matters to whom and for what reason. Catcher in the Rye certainly matters if you’re discussing the end of John Lennon’s life. There you go, I mention John Lennon and all the sudden… it matters. I’ll agree that a person should be educated, but I stop short of saying you need to be able to name drop. Hell, I can name drop… Moby Dick, Crime & Punishment, Emma and Farewell to Arms. Never read any of them, but I can name them and know more or less what they’re about. For the most part though, they don’t matter to the people I know and talk to about books.

I will agree with number 7 (Cook meat somewhere other than the grill.) If I can take the word meat out of that sentence. Learn how to cook, and it helps if you can do it beyond the grill.

Most of these are so incredibly pointless that they don’t even deserve being refuted. I don’t need to know how to make 3 bets at a crap table, I know that playing craps is for suckers. I don’t need to know anything about gambling in fact, I have better things to blow my money on. I don’t drink, so knowing my brand and being able to mix lots of cocktails are also useless. If I needed to know these things, I’ll be in a social situation and thus… I can get someone else to do it.

With reservation on a few points I’m far more likely to point you to this quote by Robert Heinlein in his book Time Enough for Love. (Exact wording thanks to this site here)

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

I’ve had to do most things an adult can reasonably be expected to do in life. You can probably skip the manure, the ship, and the hog. I’m willing to admit that the situation could come up when I might need to know those things some day, but it’s never come up once far and I’m guessing it probably won’t. I can do all the others (though you’d probably want someone better for the accounts, the bone, and the computer) with varying levels of success.

May 16, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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