Skill Sets

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 14, 2007 6:14 AM GMT
    So, I was waiting at the dentist's office yesterday (see previous thread about being on time, dammit) and flipping through the latest number of "Popular Mechanics." A column reminded me of a quote from Robert Heinlein, or at least from Lazarus Long...

    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

    OK, I can do, umm... some of that. PM goes on to list "25 skills that every man should know" (sic), most of which are pretty lame, and yeah, I can do all that stuff. But you know, in popular mythology, gay guys don't have a very good reputation for useful skills.

    Now, I grok that Uncle Bob didn't mean that everyone should have the SAME skill set. But just for fun, are there really skills that EVERY man should possess, and what are they?
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    Sep 14, 2007 10:19 AM GMT
    We do work really hard to make types of people. Like guys should be able too do... or you are not a "man's man." Women should...

    I think this is a good question, cause it can show us some of our own prejudices or disconnects in ways of thinking.

    Back when I was in uni, I had a bf who grew up on a large farm and was very mechanically inclined. I was considered the city, creative, theater type so he was genuinely surprised when I was able to replace the breaks on my car. I was shocked he thought I was so limited and proud for being able to show off.

    So there are two ways to answer this question. One is to go through and list what someone should be able to do based on your culture to be typically masculine, a guy, or just all around male abilities to have.

    The other is to list characteristics that would truly be honorable and worthy to have, that might look different ways in different places (although this is not really the question).

    First List:
    General Mechanical Understanding:
    -how basic machines work and how to fix them or at least diagnose problems.
    -how to replace fuses and basic electrical knowledge.
    -how to at least diagnose car/motorcycle problems (if you drive).
    Basic Cooking Knowledge:
    -how to prepare basic staples (whatever that is for you).
    -basic knowledge of temperatures, spices, cooking methods (bake, fry, grill) and other elements of cooking and how they work.
    -basic understanding of what is healthy and what is less so (especially if you are on RJ).
    Basic Computer Knowledge:
    -how common interfaces work (PC and MAC).
    -how to use the internet, like how to find information, avoid viruses, and what is generally a good source for whatever.
    -how to use email, pop and HTML.
    Travel Knowledge:
    -when and where to buy tickets generally.
    -how to read metro maps.
    -how to find places to stay, eat, etc.
    And for all the above and much more where to find out if you don't know.

    Second List (this is what I think is more important):
    Resourcefulness - ability to solve problems sometimes with a radical new perspective if necessary.
    Fortitude - the staying power not to give up in the face of frustration and failure.
    Grace - the ability to forgive and move on, to see the worth in everyone and have faith in it.
    Kindness - hospitality even in the face of exhaustion and stress.
    Hope - the faith to believe in life and those around you even when there is little evidence at the moment (not blind faith, or ignorance of truth)
    Honesty - an integrity to yourself and others as well as to the truth with grace and kindness (sometimes ferocity).
    Wisdom - the accumulated intelligence of the soul for more helpful perspectives and ways of living.
    Humility - being able to stop berating yourself or others, letting go of fake pride and all its faces.
    Love - this can mean all sorts of things; but I'm thinking of the skill, like how to love friends, a partner, strangers, etc - and also because its the greatest of these.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 14, 2007 12:14 PM GMT
    This is funny, I heard a conversation like this at the barber shop. There are a few ones I think every man should know;

    You should know how to:

    change a tire.
    know the difference between the engine oil and transmition fluid.
    change a car battery and how to jump one.
    to use a flashlight.
    camping and starting a fire.
    should know where north, south, east and west are at all all times.
    read a map.
    know how to punch and take a punch.
    when to shut up.
    when to say no.
    use a hammer, drill and saw.
    order wine.
    cook for yourself, if not atleast know how to operate a microwave.
    do your laundry and ironing.
    carry a conversation with out coming off as if the world revolves around you.
    admit you are wrong and apologize.
    have fun with out fucking everyone's evening.
    use a condom.
    how to take the car keys away from the friend who had one too many.

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    Sep 14, 2007 2:52 PM GMT
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    Sep 14, 2007 2:52 PM GMT
    My Top 25

    1. Cook Breakfast
    2. Cook Dinner
    3. Load and Fire a Weapon
    4. Throw a punch
    5. Throw a football/baseball
    6. Drive a stick shift
    7. Change a Tire
    8. Change the oil in your auto
    9. Change a diaper
    10. Tie a Double Windsor
    11. Sew/mend your clothing
    12. Do Laundry
    13. Iron a shirt properly
    14. Make coffee
    15. Write a heartfelt note/letter
    16. Swim
    17. Change a door lock/light switch
    18. Perform CPR
    19. Navigate with a map
    20. Hold an intelligent and relevant conversation
    21. Conduct extended foreplay
    22. Cuddle/Spoon
    23. Kiss passionately
    24. Swear colorfully
    25. Spit
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    Sep 14, 2007 4:43 PM GMT
    McGay, masturbation doesnt qualify as a skill. Dolphins can do it and they don't even have fingers.

    Now perform Oral sex, now that takes skill, technique, style and stamina.
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    Sep 14, 2007 5:27 PM GMT
    Yeah, but dogs can perform oral sex.

    Personally, I think that everyone should be able to:

    1) design and perform a rational controlled experiment. (e.g. as in diagnosing a car or electrical problem) and

    2) rationally evaluate evidence for a claim of fact. (i.e. operate a functional bullshit detector.)

    A lot of the other stuff comes down to the ability to use tools of some sort. (As Douglas Adams said, "...and for the rest of you guys, the trick is to *bang the rocks together.*") Also people ought to understand how the tools that they use work, and be able to maintain and repair them, if not build them from scratch.

    It seems as if an awful lot of people don't really do stuff in daily life. They fill out forms to have other people do stuff, or less. These guys are at risk of becoming sub-human. If that happens, there's no choice except to move them over to government jobs. But maybe I've worked in too many places where it takes ten or twenty people to do the work of one.

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    Sep 14, 2007 5:51 PM GMT
    The problem with virtually any sort of list like the ones being offered is that what some people consider essential, others consider irrelevant. I can't imagine not knowing how to do really basic cooking, but the guy who was renting a room from me recently didn't even know how to scramble eggs, because he only eats one meal a day (plus his protein shakes), and he buys that meal. Similarly, from some of the lists here: I can't reasonably order wine, but this is because...I don't drink alcohol. Ordering wine is completely irrelevant to my life.

    So, admitting to the fact that some things I'm going to think are important are irrelevant to others, and vice versa, I'd say basically everyone (man or woman) in the western world should have the skills and knowledge to:

    Balance a check book

    Read an introductory college text book in just about any subject

    Follow instructions (whether they are map directions, how to assemble an entertainment center, a recipe on how to cook something, etc)

    Use a hammer and a screw driver

    Do your own laundry

    Cook at least a handful of things

    Evaluate a political candidate's positions on important subjects

    Have a fun day/date that involves spending less than $10

    Operate a computer

    Identify what you don't know

    Evaluate the reliability of an information source

    Admit when you're wrong

    Take responsibility for your own actions.

    Without those abilities, it's a lot harder to be a functional adult in a western country these days.
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    Sep 14, 2007 6:00 PM GMT
    Good Points BoiNerd. I don't give a rats ass about wine either becasue I don't drink the stuff. But I definatly liked you list.
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    Sep 14, 2007 6:12 PM GMT
    Perhaps you're just not very skillful at it.

  • phill

    Posts: 117

    Sep 14, 2007 8:50 PM GMT
    this is a good topic im going to go by madapollos secondary clause.

    The ability to accumulate knowledge- Not just reading and mimiking but to be able to understand delve and garnish meaning from it

    Empathy- to understand ones situation outside of oneself even if it is very different than your own.

    lucidity- the ability to elucidate an idea beyond a basic concept in order to seek refutation's on your general thesis there by helping my first point the ability to acquire knowledge

    compassion- beyond basic empathy you should also be skill full in the act of compassion both towards yourself and others. Compassion is to empathize and act towards a goal of alliviating tention or stress in a situation.

    Protectorship- The ability to protect both yourself and your loved ones preferably by non violent means but also to know how to protect yourself physically if need calls for it.

    stewardship- understand the system in which you are a part of in the hopes to benifiet said system for future generations.

    honesty- No just being honest in your dealings but the ability to say you do not know something without the fear of repraisal associated with being a man who is found unknowledgable about something (i.e. i cant spell. Often times i misconstrue words and type the wrong one. Im unsure lets look it up.)

    Emotionally responsive- The ability to show emotion but not be constrained by it allowing it to eventually cause an inaction in you. This falls unders the lines of doing the right thing.

    These to me are the fundamental tenements in which a man should live by, at least towards which i strive for. Because in empathy i understand that my path is not your path and both of ours enrich each others.
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    Sep 14, 2007 8:58 PM GMT
    Don't forget the ability to make amusing armpit noises.