Well, hello there.
Me? Oh, never mind me. I’m just a living amalgam of every competent, masculine older male from whom you’ve ever craved approval. It’s possible that I am merely a physical manifestation of all the influences that have touched your life, planting the seeds of your male self-image and leaving you feeling vaguely — but unmistakably — inadequate since you turned twenty-nine. My easy demeanor, casual confidence and almost limitless knowledge of hands-on labor could all just be a caricature of those things you see lacking in yourself.
Or I could be your neighbor from two doors down, the guy whose lawn looks like a putting green despite you never seeing me spend an hour working on it? Yes, that’s right, I’m Bill — you remember, we met when you mistook my wife Barbara for our daughter, when she was sunbathing on our front porch last summer. Ha! Barb still goes on about that, let me tell you. She was pleased to no end. “At least those 8 hours a week at the gym are impressing someone, Bill!” That’s what she’ll tell me, and then we have a good laugh.
Ah, but I do go on– say! That’s quite a shelving unit.
No no! Don’t be modest! You put that together yourself, didn’t you?
Of course you did, and that’s what I admire in young folks these days. It’s so easy to just pay the extra fifty bucks to have someone assemble it for you, but then you just don’t get the satisfaction of having made something. Why, when I was installing our granite countertops, Barb said to me, she said, “Bill, you don’t have to wire the potlights yourself while you’re waiting for the granite sealer to set!” And I just said to her, bless her heart, “Well what am I supposed to do? Just wait for the second coat of paint to dry? I’m not that kind of fella!”
I’m sure you know what I mean. Just look at your craftsmanship here.
So, I guess you’re moving on to the best part of the job now, aren’t you? I hope you don’t mind if I join you.
Ha ha! Don’t look so awkward, I mean the reward! No project can get done without rewarding yourself a little bit, the way only a guy who’s earned it can. And you, well, look at yourself — clearly you’re a guy who uses his hands for more than playing with himself when Latin Lover comes on, am I right?
Ha ha! Ah, you’re a good sport. Listen, why don’t I show you a classic man’s reward to himself after a job well-done? First, let’s find some whiskey.
A lot of fellas are going to try to tell you that Jack Daniels is bourbon, and a whole bunch of others are going to get up your ass about how you spell whiskey — if it’s Scottish then it gets an E, if it’s Irish then it doesn’t. I don’t know what that means for the stuff from Tennessee, but I also don’t care. The important thing is that now you’ve got an ounce of it.
So th– wait, son, you’re not just going to haul back and pound that, are you? That’s the sort of celebration that I’d expect of someone who hired a bunch of Mexican fellas to mow his lawn, and then went out to pick a dandelion for himself. Go on, look at that shelving unit.
That’s right. Look at that. You built that with your own two hands. You busted open that little bag with the plasticky screws, you figured out what the hell those Swedish pictograms were supposed to represent, you got everything faced the right way on the first try — you did ALL THAT. You’ve got dignity. I know that you do.
Now, where’s some beer– ah, here it is.
Now, there we go! Take an ounce of nice sweet American whiskey and drop it straight into a cold tallboy of whatever the hell beer you’ve got kicking around. Look at it swim around in there, doesn’t it look good? That’s a simple, honest drink and no fooling.
You know, it’s funny, Barbara kids me all the time when she sees me working on a drink like this. “You’re never happy unless you’re tinkering away!” she says to me. “It isn’t enough that you’ve got a vintage Shelby Cobra in the garage, but you just have to get authentic parts for the entire engine! You’re just lucky you spend as much time hand-tuning me!”
Ha ha! Funny how guys like us can get so lucky, isn’t it? Say, where is that lovely young woman that I used to see around here so often– oh, well, never mind son. Some people can’t appreciate quality.
But that reminds me! Don’t just grab this and start in on it, because you’re going to notice it’s just a little bit bitter. Time to improvise!
Great choice! Any old concentrated fruit juice will do! It just has to be sweet enough and thick enough to add sugar to the mix.
See, that’s how I know I’m dealing with someone who really gets it — it’s not enough to have the perfect house, the beautiful wife, the independent wealth… you know, the usual things. It’s how you put them all together that makes you someone worth knowing. Whether it’s the idyllic life of a happy retiree or this shelving unit here in your garage, it’s all about the effort you put in.
Go on and pour that in there, son.
Perfect! Look at it all come together! That’s the true sign of someone who appreciates a job well done — someone who’s not willing to just settle for one reward, but is willing to do a bit extra to get a three-in-one, if you know what I mean.
Ha ha! Just kidding. You’re a good kid, but Barbara doesn’t go in for that kind of thing any more.
The Handyman is a beer cocktail, taking the cleanliness of a lager, the sweet bitterness of an Irish-style whiskey and the sweetness of fruit in a single pint glass. Tinkerers will approve.
- Take 1 pint (or tallboy) of very cold lager and pour it out into a pint glass or tall tumbler
- Pour 1 ounce of Irish whiskey or Jack Daniels’ into a shot glass
- Add the whiskey into the lager, but do not stir
- To the same shot glass, add 1 ounce of concentrated citrus or sweet fruit juice (as a substitute to simple syrup)
- Soak up any remaining whiskey in the shot glass, and add the syrup to the pint
- Stir GENTLY to mix the flavors and distribute any pulp; do not agitate to the point that the carbonation is lost
- Toast to your ingenuity
Congratulations! You’ve combined your beer, your chaser and your cordial all into a single glass, in true handyman style! Your ultra-competent peers will cheer you, and the proportions will ensure a pleasant buzz while keeping you from collapsing to your knees immediately.
It’s the perfect reward for personal industry, and you can take pride that you made it all by yourself. Good on you, fella.