I looked at my brother in alarm. "What in heavens name are you doing LT?" MP looked over and put in her shrill comment, "Oh my goodness!! LT you're gonna break that!"
Things might sound hysterical here, but really, it's business as usual in my house. Mom comes home with some kind of small appliance, or any other electronic gadget, and the men of the family see a need to take out their tool-box and fix it. Female pleas that the object is straight out of the box, and thus require no fixing fall on deaf ears.
See, keeping things simple is a very feminine idea. Take last erev sukkos in my house. My brother suddenly remembered that one year the rain was so heavy that the shlak on our sukkah accumulated enough rain to cave in. Why he remembered it now, at least four or five years later is beyond me. And why he decided that we could not go into sukkos without a fancy pulley system for the shlak is completely beyond me. But he is of the male species, and therefore he thinks differently than I do.
The scene grew ludicrous though, when we women, for some inexplicable reason, decided to ask for the kitchen back. "C'mon, we almost have our pulley system working! Can't you guys go someplace else to cook?" How silly of us, wanting to cook in the kitchen, of all places.
Then there is the time that my brother decided to "fix" the fridge. Mind you, none of the females in the house ever figured out what needed fixing about the fridge, but apparently it was a big job, because LT called his friend over to help him. Naturally, this endeavor took place on erev shabbos. Naturally, we were kicked out of the kitchen so they could work. Naturally, the fridge got pulled out and gallons of water somehow found their way onto the newly mopped floor.
I am not quite sure what our little fixer-men did, but I do know this. Three days later the fridge was in shambles and my father was sure that LT could fix it. Try talking to a man about something like this... Call me sneaky, but I went behind the male backs and called the PC Richard warranty service and they took care of the problem. And LT? He thinks the problem righted itself, due to the genius that created it (the problem, not the fridge.)
This is not my only such story. Once, my brother took the kitchen phone apart, "to see if he could make it work better." Funny, the men in my family make so much fun of the women for talking on the phone too much, but I guess we didn't talk enough to discover the problem - that takes a man.
That time, my mother got smart. She took one look at my brother sitting at the table surrounded by masses of tools, screws, nuts, bolts, and those little things that a woman can't ask about without getting herself mocked, and she went out to the local store to buy a new phone. Here's where diplomacy comes into the mix. My mother came home and told my brother that she bought a new phone to use while he fixes the other one. I'm pretty sure he is still working on it.
It's not only LT, it's all my brothers. BT has been known to collect drills, not something a female would ever be able to comprehend. And BB, who is less mechanically inclined has been known to master-mind some of the more ambitious endeavors. And don't get me started on my father, who is the duct-tape champion of the universe.
And it's not just fridges and phones. It's toasters and coffee makers, battery testers and rice cookers. Computers, sandwich makers and even irons are subject to the male-fixer treatment.
A wise man once said, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." On second thoughts, it must have been a wise woman. Her husband was the one who said, "if it ain't broke, break it, then you can try to fix it."