As an author and humorist, Reid Champagne is known for his absurd & sophomoric observations of everyday life. While the story of how Reid met wife Carol (after being widowed late in life) is so sweet it belongs on Hallmark, his family would argue his inept & smart-ass tendencies belong on a 2020 reboot of Grumpier Old Men.
The other day, loud banging suddenly disturbed the rhythmic progress of pointless respiration emanating from my sector of the couch. Dogged residuals of traditional masculinity fired urgent messages to my brain that I needed to see what was up. Banging like that in the home is generally something men do. I certainly didn’t want Carol to draw the wrong conclusion of a husband otherwise capable of assuming mollusk-like suspensions of time and space on the sofa, as if he were just another amoebic lump of metabolic motility.
I was surprised to find that the banging was associated with Carol’s latest pandemic project of replacing all the doorknobs in our domicile. My first thought was that I was happy to see that there was someone else in the world that believed replacing doorknobs required a hammer. (To paraphrase a bit on my DIY skills: if all you have is a hammer, then everything’s a thumb.)
Carol first sought to explain the necessity of the project: “The old ones were just cruddy.” My thought was So? They still opened and closed the doors. But I’ve been a quick learner to know that the key to Carol’s heart is knowing there is nothing of value to any discordant thoughts I might have on any given subject at hand. “I was just thinking that very thing,” I replied, thinking that might entitle me to either a treat or a chew toy of some kind later on.
“To paraphrase a bit on my DIY skills: if all you have is a hammer, then everything’s a thumb.”
Now, although I’ve been uncharitably compared to a doorknob in other contexts, I’ve installed an actual knob or two in my life, and I correctly surmised the banging was in relation to properly seating the strike plate. In my past experience, I’d never acceded to the hammering stage of the strike plate install, because any grasp of the latch was good enough for me, especially on an interior door. Carol’s determination to insure the latch would not “stick” was as commendable as it seemed (to me) to be overkill.
When I explained what my approach to “fit” was, Carol nodded somewhat patronizingly and then assured me, “I have this.” Reconfirmed that my services were not required, I wandered back to my station satisfied I’d put forth a manful gesture.
Carol had been married to a private investigator, the kind of profession they make television action dramas about. Most of my adult working life was with a processed food manufacturer, the kind of profession that inserts bland, irritating commercials during those television action dramas. Needless to say, I am keen to demonstrate an appropriate level of virility whenever the opportunity presents itself. It’s just not clear whether assuring her that we can safely ignore the expired use-by date on a brick of cheese spread is getting the job done.
There are now at least a half-dozen shiny new brushed nickel doorknobs that all seem to be staring at me judgmentally if not condescendingly. I have a response to all of them. There’s a pergola outside that’s still standing that even Carol the Hammer didn’t think we could manage. And a lot of food in the fridge that’s going to be good to go for a while yet.
And yes, I realize that arguing with a bunch of doorknobs is not helping my image all that much.