October 17, 2012

With a little thought, men can fix anything

By SUSAN TOBIAS, Pinch of Time

---- — I receive emails from a lot of different sources, some welcome, some not.

Some are so funny I have to share them with our readers.

The most recent one is entitled “Men Can Fix Anything.” My disclaimer: some men can fix anything, but don’t count women out of that equation. Sometimes the women get tired of waiting for the men in their lives to fix the broken “stuff,” and they go ahead and fix it themselves. I can attest to that.

Anyway, this email has pictures of a variety of broken things and the way men “fixed” them. Take the guy who needed a grill to cook steaks over his outdoor fire pit. He simply turned a metal grocery cart on its side, strategically placed the side panel over the fire and before you know it he had medium-rare steaks.

Or how about the guy who didn’t have a front wheel for his bicycle. He found a grocery cart and attached the front wheel forks of the bike to the cart. Down the road he went. Not a problem.

Need to feed a lot of people a lot of hot dogs at your next picnic? Grab a metal leaf rake. Put the hot dogs on the end of each tine and, quick as a rabbit, you have hot dogs cooked over the outdoor fire. Smart? Sure! Got the job done.

In the “Not So Sure You Should Do That” category is the man who needed hot water for his shower. He mounted a 20-gallon hot-water heater on the wall over the tub, rigged the water pipes, ran an extension cord from the sink to the heater and plugged in the hot water heater. There is no proof this man is still alive to talk about his invention.

In a strange sort of way, some of these “answers” to problems border on genius. The guy without air conditioning in his old Lincoln rigged a house air conditioner in the back window of his car, mounted a generator on the trunk and enjoyed the cool air. Not sure if he drives the car or lives in it.

The guy who didn’t have a lawn sprinkler simply punched holes in a 2-liter soda bottle, weighed it down and hooked up his hose. Voila! A lawn sprinkler that any homeowner would be glad to use, and it’s green.

Then there’s the guy who bought a second-hand split-door refrigerator, with no shelves on the door. He fashioned layers of that “oh-so-famous” duct tape and made shelves. They worked, according to the picture. His duct-tape invention is rivaled by the guy who didn’t have a real mailbox, so he duct-taped a large jar to the mailbox post; or the one who duct-taped 2-by-4-inch lumber to his extension ladder to paint his stairwell with 14-foot ceilings. Amazing in a scary way.

My late father-in-law was famous for his duct-tape repairs. He once passed along an older black Cadillac to us, complete with duct tape holding on the rubber door seals; worked for him so we just left it alone. Never had a leak.

So you see, ladies, men can fix just about anything. Just give them a roll of duct tape, a little encouragement, and you never know what will happen. He may just invent something new and end up on Home Shopping Network.

One last thought, as always, please be kind to each other. The world needs more kindness.

Susan Tobias lives in Plattsburgh with her husband, Toby. She has been a Press-Republican newsroom employee since 1977. The Tobiases have six children, 18 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. They enjoy traveling to Maine and Colorado, and in her spare time, Susan loves to research local history and genealogy. Reach her by email at