Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Handy Man

Many of us who are familiar with him, know that Mr Red Green's closing line "If the women don't find you handsome they should at least find you handy" is a humorous maxim that is not that far off the mark. 'Handsome is what handsome does' perhaps confirms the same thing but without the sense of it being a poor consolation. Again as I made mention in previous posts, the inference to 'hands' is important, since they are etymologically implicated as the source of how we associate what functions are involved in getting approval from the opposite sex and or registering true and pleasing form. 

Form again follows function. The attractiveness of the neolithic repairman is a function of his ability to fix things. The skill lies in knowing not to be in Mr Fix-It mode all the time. As the expression goes- 'If it aint broke, don't fix it'.

However the word handy implies more than being able to fix things or even being good at making things. It means knowing how to touch things, how to handle things and not the least: how to deal with people. A woman knows that a handy man knows not only how to take care of her but how to handle anyone who might cause her any problems.

Our species is defined by how we handle these things.

But might not a woman find someone who didn't have particularly attractive lips, still mouthy? Or a man with flabby abs, still find him gutsy?  

There are those too who are looking to find in a mate, someone 'brainy'?  I suspect however that there is a swing away from intellectual prowess, it being not as important as it used to be amongst the heaving masses.

Anyway the thing that fascinates me is how 'handy' we are as a species. And perhaps this fact is no more obvious than when we compare ourselves to say, how handy other animals are. 

Take the dog for example. One would hardly define a dog's best attribute as it being  'pawy'!  No the real place where the dog gets things done, the business end, so to speak, focuses largely around its mouth. A dog approaches a dangerous animal, not as you and I might, ( perhaps with a stick held firmly in hand or at the very least trying to ward it off with our bare hands) but 'mouth first' with its teeth. I cant imagine having to pick up a dead rat, let alone a live one, using only my mouth. By the same token a dog, if he were to build a stone wall would have to try and build it with its teeth. A dog in order to be the human equivalent of handsome or handy has to be 'mouthy'.

But then again there is also the dog's nose, I suppose. (Which in the case of most dogs is really part and parcel of the mouth)  Certainly the canine olfactory gland discerns a whole world we humans know nothing of. So maybe the importance of peeing everywhere is to establish who is the 'nosiest'.

What does this all have to do with building things with stone?
Just this: that our hands set us apart, not just from other species but from one another. Our handiwork is our fingerprint, our identity. The walls we build with our hands mark not only our territory or merely enhance our surroundings they define the true nature of the person inside.


1 comment:

  1. We assembled a masonry heater kit in the masonry shop's held together with duct tape at three strategic locations. So your post is very timely! This weather has me poking at the stonepile's to warmer days ahead! jscott