Dave Barry, one of my all-time favorite writers, has a new book coming out next week entitled You Can Date Boys When You're Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About; the WSJ has published an excerpt from that book, on the topic of stuff no one knows how to do anymore. Below are excerpts of that excerpt:
We have it pretty easy. But we have paid a price for all this convenience: We don't know how to do anything anymore.
What really bothers me is that, like many modern American men, I don't know how to do anything manly anymore. And by "manly," I do not mean "physical." A lot of us do physical things, but these are yuppie fitness things like "spinning," and "crunches," and working on our "core," and running half-marathons and then putting "13.1" stickers on our hybrid cars so everybody will know what total cardiovascular badasses we are.
That's not manly. I'll tell you who was manly: The early American pioneers. They set out into the vast untracked wilderness with nothing but a musket and a sack of hardtack and hominy, and they had to survive out there for months, even years, completely on their own, sleeping on the ground in bear-infested forests. That's why they brought the hardtack: to throw at the bears. They had no idea why they brought hominy. Like you, they had no idea what "hominy" means. It sounds like some kind of disease.
These pioneering men did not do "crunches." These men crunched the damn continent—blazing trails, fording rivers, crossing mountain ranges, building log cabins, forging things with forges, etc. We modern men can't do any of those things. We don't have the vaguest idea how to ford a river. We'd check our phones to see if we had a fording app and, if not, we'd give up, go back home and work on our cores.
We American men have lost our national manhood, and I say it's time we got it back. We need to learn to do the kinds of manly things our forefathers knew how to do. To get us started, I've created a list of some basic skills that every man should have, along with instructions. You may rest assured that these instructions are correct. I got them from the Internet.
Things a Man Should Know How to Do
How to Cook a Steak on the Grill
1. Make sure you choose a good steak. The main "cuts" of steak are the Brisket, the Loin, the Round, the Chuck, the Rump, the Groin, the Niblick, the Flanker, the Grommet, the Cosine and the Stirrup. They are all basically the same because they all come from the inside of a cow. You should select a manly-looking steak that is approximately the size and density of a standard manhole cover and does not have too many visible fly eggs.
2. Many people like to enhance the flavor of the steak by soaking it ahead of time in marinade or rubbing it with a blend of herbs and spices.
3. These people are pansies.
4. Place the steak horizontally on the grill oriented along an east-west axis.
5. Drink a timing beer. (VERY IMPORTANT: Not a "light" beer.)
6. When the beer is done, check the steak by prodding it firmly yet gently with your right forefinger. If it feels cold, you need to light the grill. (This should have been Step 1.)
7. Drink another timing beer.
8. Turn the steak over, using barbecue tongs or a No. 2 profilated Phillips screwdriver with a 10-inch titanium-coated shank.
9. Drink another timing beer.
10. Check the steak to determine how done it is, using this chart:
Doneness of Steak – Color of Steak
Rare – brown
Medium-rare – brown
Medium – brown
Medium-well – brown
Well – brown
11. If the steak is covered with molten or flaming plastic, you failed to remove it from the packaging. (This should also have been Step 1.)
12. Spray the steak with a fire extinguisher if necessary and serve it outdoors in a dark area.
13. This might be a good time to switch to tequila.