men and machines

Here in my small, very unscientific laboratory where I study the behavior of the male species, I have observed a behavior that has never ceased to puzzle me:

Men who are otherwise quite good at using tools and machinery and can fix just about anything that’s broken, are struck dumb by a malfunctioning office machine.

I cannot tell you how many times, I’ve heard the pitiful refrain of “Kaaaareeen, help!” and have found a big strong man standing helpless in front of a malfunctioning (fill in the blank with one of the following: copier, fax machine, printer, shredder). As if I somehow magically know what’s wrong and how to fix it.

And sometimes I do, but most times I just whip out the MANUAL and READ IT. Perhaps the reading part is the problem, since it seems that most men are genetically programmed to resist reading instructions. I’ve wasted a lot of time and effort typing out basic instructions for men on how to send a simple fax or how to transfer a phone call to voice mail, but usually these instructions are just simply ignored and the refrain of “Kaaareeen, I forgot how to transfer a call” can be heard at some point in time during the week. I no longer even attempt to provide written instructions for ANYTHING.

I think he fact that no power tools are required to fix an office machine or use a phone is the real problem. Maybe men figure “why bother?” when faced with a problem that doesn’t require snapping a battery pack onto a tool and letting ‘er rip. Perhaps the ability to fix a problem simply by pressing a button is considered too easy and beneath their manly powers to attempt.

Any speaking of manly powers, I have also found that most men are terrified of answering a ringing office phone. They’ll answer their own cell phone in a split second, but it seems office phones are somehow different. I have observed men sit right next to an incessently ringing phone and expect me to answer it – even if I’m up fixing an office machine (for them) and have to sprint to another office to pick up a phone call that, inevitably, IS NOT FOR ME. Fortunately, I’ve identified their specific fear and this gentle reminder is usually all it takes to assuage their concerns about answering the phone: “Don’t worry, it’s been scientifically proven that answering an office phone does not make your dick fall off.”

Yep, this usually does the trick.

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2 Responses to “men and machines”


  1. 1 Your Mom January 12, 2006 at 11:45 am

    should make sure you dad reads the comment about the ringing phone. Maybe he would answer the phone at home once in a while. Very Good.

  2. 2 Miss Texas January 12, 2006 at 11:46 am

    yes, we all know that this is their problem, but why, why , why I ask you? oh sorry I’m ranting. T


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