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The skills list

Posted by Richard on September 19, 2007

I'm often the last to learn about something. Take, for instance, Popular Mechanics' "25 Skills Every Man Should Know," which was posted last week (see also the October issue of the print magazine) — I think half the bloggers in the English-speaking world have tallied their scores and put in their two cents' worth on the list. Here it is:

1. Patch a radiator hose

2. Protect your computer

3. Rescue a boater who has capsized

4. Frame a wall

5. Retouch digital photos

6. Back up a trailer

7. Build a campfire

8. Fix a dead outlet

9. Navigate with a map and compass

10. Use a torque wrench

11. Sharpen a knife

12. Perform CPR

13. Fillet a fish

14. Maneuver a car out of a skid

15. Get a car unstuck

16. Back up data

17. Paint a room

18. Mix concrete

19. Clean a bolt-action rifle

20. Change oil and filter

21. Hook up an HDTV

22. Bleed brakes

23. Paddle a canoe

24. Fix a bike flat

25. Extend your wireless network

















I've done 21 of those. I haven't done numbers 1 (replaced a few, but never patched one), 3, 12, or 19 (I have only semi-auto rifles). Some of the others I can't claim to be particularly good at.

I prefer Robert A. Heinlein's list, although my score is much lower on it:

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.

— from Time Enough for Love (1973) 


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