Day 304: Look at that Delicious Chainsaw.

I almost bought a chainsaw at Home Depot today. I don’t even remotely need a chainsaw. Now that I think about it, I’m actually afraid of chainsaws. My friend Jeremy would use his dad’s for cutting stuff like giant sandwiches, and it would give me a panic attack. If I see a big branch on my oak tree that looks ill, I call “Save a Tree” and a nice forestry major stops by to have a calm talk with her about how she’s feeling. I don’t have any business using a chainsaw. I would probably accidentally saw the car or forget to turn it off, wake up the next morning, and see that it decapitated all the hasta plants.

It was odd. I stared at those chainsaws for 10 minutes, imagining cutting down big stuff all by myself in order to make a canoe strong enough for the winter’s crossing,  for it would soon be blubber season … or whatever. I don’t know what I was imagining. I just wanted to pull that cord and destroy some shit while screaming and frothing at the mouth.

I’ve always thought there was something lamely macho about guys with a bunch of power tools. They seemed like maybe their DNA still contained the “must kill wooly mammoth” gene. I assumed they took up all that nailing, sanding, fixing, sawing, and waxing to escape their wive’s incessant talk of drapery and throw pillows. At least that’s why Tim Allen did it on Home Improvement, right? I don’t know, I never watched that show. Did we ever find out who the know-it-all was behind the fence? Ok, fine, I did watch it a few times.

It’s not about being alone or getting away from “the wife.” It’s actually not a social issue at all. At around 40, decreases in testosterone cause the male brain to panic and say things like, “Bro, if you wanna build a dune buggy or make an electric guitar from scratch, you better do that shit now becuase your hand-eye coordination is already in the shitter and your hemorrhoids ain’t gettin’ any better.” Some men are more capable than others of quieting these confusing thoughts.

I took a deep breath and was able to shake that beastly voice telling me to buy a chainsaw and destroy stuff. It took discipline, but I was able to refocus on the sconces and other “lighting solutions” on the other side of the aisle. I mean, the living room is really dark because of our western exposure, you guys!

Wives of the world, when your husband comes home with wide innocent eyes and says, “I bought a goddamn motorcycle and there’s not a thing you can do about it,” don’t get angry. It wasn’t a decision he made consciously. It just kinda happened. Believe me, he doesn’t understand what’s going on either.  Just install a webcam in the garage to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself or blow anything up (just pretend like you’re in a ridiculous sitcom.) It’ll pass eventually, and soon he’ll be back to helping out with dinner. For now though, just let him polish the chrome until he’s satisfied. Check in every now and then to make sure he’s getting enough liquids.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

10 comments On Day 304: Look at that Delicious Chainsaw.

  • Your chainsaw was my dad's new Audi. Except he didn't talk himself out of it. He drove home in a brand new champagne Audi A4 and basically told my mom that this is the way things are and she was just going to have to deal. Mid-life crisis much?

  • Fall and Spring weekends we spend many hours sawing and splitting wood. I hate it, but I really really hate having a $300 gas bill during the winter. I get out of it for now with a toddler…can't really have her hauling wood…..yet. =)

  • You are a better man than I. You resisted.

  • A chainsaw is mighty ambitious. My husband owns one. Sometimes I find myself dying to give it a go, but then I remember how accident prone I am and decide to just be happy with my compound miter saw and my dremel. Those are ambitious enough for me…

  • My husband bought a chainsaw a couple of years ago. 'Cause you know, you never know when you might need to saw a bunch of shit." I just rolled my eyes.

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