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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on December 7th, 2011, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 12, Issue 40 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 12, Issue 40

Back it up

Krider's man card is at stake

By ROB KRIDER

The human race has males, and it has men. Not all males are considered “men” until they prove they have certain characteristics that make them manly. Males must perfect a certain skill set in order to own the ultimate title of “a man’s man.” During a male’s life, as he grows up from boyhood, he is tested and judged by his peers on his ability to do specific tasks as a man should. These tasks are known as the Three B’s: barbecue, build, and back up. If a male can’t barbecue a steak, build a fence, or back up a truck and trailer, he is essentially useless to society.  He is shamed and cast off by other men and is supposed to go back to being a boy-child and the other Three B’s: boogers, balloons, and bawling.

Upon self-assessment, I consider myself a man’s man; however, my record of undercooked meat, a dangerously leaning fence in my backyard, and one dented trailer say I’m still just a boy. If you ever saw me swing a hammer, you might even say I’m a baby playing with Playschool’s My First Tool Set.

Regardless of my own opinion of what kind of man I am, my manliness came into question recently while I was pulling a car trailer behind my motor home. In my defense, the rig is 55 feet long, which means it is considerably more difficult to maneuver than your average Volkswagen Beetle. Driving it through a gas station is like trying to land a 747 on a football field. Besides being massive in size, the motor home/trailer combination isn’t exactly responsive or quick on the move. Every time I get on the freeway with The Beast I say a little prayer, yell out, “Ramming speed!” and do my best to merge into traffic with one eye closed and two fingers crossed. Going forward in The Beast, I can sort of manage the massive rig, but when it comes to backing up, it turns out I’m not so good. Okay, I’ll publicly say it: I suck.

I officially dethroned myself from manliness when I got my motor home and car trailer stuck in a small parking lot that was down a sloped single-lane driveway. The original plan was to turn around in the parking lot, but unfortunately for me and my questionable manliness, there was limited space. No matter how many times I attempted to turn 55 feet around in a 40-foot space, there just wasn’t enough room. The only way out was to back up the narrow, curved, sloped driveway with my enormous Beast. After some not-so-helpful backing navigation from my wife, whom I love, I ended up jackknifed, sweaty from stress, against a fence and desperate.

Like a child, I blamed someone else for my follies. In this case, I blamed my wife. Her advice on backing up a trailer is downright awful. I could probably back up more successfully blindfolded than have my wife direct me 100 percent of the time toward the wrong direction. The following is a sample of my wife’s advice while I’m backing up 55 feet of machinery on a 10-foot road.

“Um … go left. No, the trailer goes left; you go right. Wait. STOP!  You almost hit a fence.”

“How close am I?”

“To what?”

“To the fence that I almost hit.”

“Um, I don’t know.”

“Give me something. Is it 10 feet or 10 inches?”

“Um, I’m not sure how far because you already hit it.”

“I thought you said I almost hit it?”

“Well, I mean you’re going to hit it, like, a lot now.”

“What do I need to do to avoid that?”

“I don’t know.  Maybe turn or something … .”

“Turn which way?”

“Turn away from it, I guess.”

“Don’t guess! I can’t see it from where I am! You need to tell me what to do.”

“You need to stop hitting the fence.”

“HOW!?”

“Maybe you should have somebody else’s husband do it for you?”

“Are you crazy? Do you know what you’re asking me? Should I have somebody else’s husband father our next child, too?”

The rig was up against a fence, paint was scratched, property was already damaged,
and thus my blood pressure was off the charts. I like to describe the narrative between my wife and me as “heated bantering.” Others may describe it as screaming bloody murder at each other. This spectacle got the attention of a couple of cowboys who happened to be nearby. Cowboys, due to the nature of their recreation, are instantly deemed by society as manly men (and adored by all women). Cowboys also know how to back up a horse trailer better than NASCAR’s Tony Stewart can drive his No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet forward. The cowboys asked if I could use some help navigating my way back up and out of the parking lot. Stuck with no other options, I agreed. It took a team of six cowboys coaching me turn by turn for 10 minutes to get me out of the parking lot. It was official; I completely lost my man card. I couldn’t “back up”
my claims of being a man’s man.

I graciously thanked the cowboys for their much-needed assistance.  I sat a little lower in my driver’s seat as I cruised home with the shame of not being able to back up my own vehicle successfully. After a few hours of feeling horrible about myself, we got home safely (since no more backing up was required). That night, to add salt to my wounds, when I asked my wife what she wanted for Christmas this year, she said, “A 2012 photo calendar featuring cowboys.”

Rob backed up his manly man claims by backing his RV into a gas station island. Better get Maaco!




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