The other day I exercised my male prerogative. I don’t mean that I urinated off the porch. It was the other entitlement – the most important one. The one that causes the male bonding gland to ooze male hormones through the masculine lymphatic system. The  option that gives men that wonderful and powerful sense of machismo and camaraderie.

 I bought a set of socket wrenches.

 Women readers may scoff, but to men there is an aesthetic feeling about snapping a right sized socket on the shaft of a reversible ratchet handle. Snapping an extension drive between enriches the feeling. The sense of the aesthetic becomes one of pure delight when there is something to wrench.

 Manliness, among other features one does not usually mention in a family newspaper, involves fixing things – whether or not they need fixing. Men have a genes in their biological make-ups which trigger certain drives. These include sex drives, territorial imperatives, and the drive to manipulate. Manipulation means screwing and unscrewing, and when it comes to this there is nothing like having the right tool for the job.

 I needed the right tool because my fusible link broke. For those who don’t know, a fusible link is a six inch piece of thin insulated copper wire attached to the negative pole of a car battery. Its sole purpose is to get corroded by the growth of that acidic mass of crystals that collects on the pole. Once suitably corroded, it breaks. When it breaks, nothing works – that is until you pay $8.97 plus HST for a new one.

 My fusible link broke in the middle of the Oak Street Bridge – miles from an auto parts store. Usually when my car breaks down on the bridge I cause a traffic jam for a few hours. This time I was lucky. The jam was already there. This gave me time to diagnose the problem and fix it.

 I looked under the hood and found the fusible link dangling limply against the battery. All the copper on the end turned to copper sulphate. The only metallic copper left was in the middle of the wire. There was no chance of connecting this to the pole by the conventional manner of screwing it to the cable clamp. It wasn’t long enough.

 It was, however, long enough to clamp it with one of the jaws of my jumper cables. I did this. By the time the traffic was moving again, I was mobile. The other end of the jumper cable hissed and danced like a cobra on my passenger seat. It waited for the opportunity to electrocute the next passer-by – such as the auto parts salesman.

 To install the new part, I needed a set of socket wrenches. Pliers wouldn’t do. I would be better off using my teeth – except the deterring taste of the acrid residues on the battery pole. Socket wrenches are to pliers what computers are to sharp sticks scoring hieroglyphics on the ground. They are the Rolls Royce of the tool world.

 The only problem with socket wrenches is that one job is never enough. It took me exactly thirty seven seconds to fix my car. I found myself with my wrenches poised and nothing to screw. I felt stood up on a Saturday night. I couldn’t get no satisfaction.

 If you need a set of socket wrenches to satisfy your fix-it drive, beware of this feeling. It can be costly as you start to rip your valuables apart and put them back together again. You need a challenge.

 Here’s a tip. Open the tool box and drop it. That’s right, drop it. If possible, drop it on a hill so all the sockets roll into the next time zone. You can burn off all that fix-it energy trying to find each escapee and putting it into the right slot.

 It’s all part of the male prerogative.

 Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at or at If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.



  1. Sharon Says:

    So funny, Mike. You must be Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor’s twin, or reincarnation. What kind of “tool man” are you if you didn’t have a set of socket wrenches in your trunk? I do, and I’m a girl. Of course, they may be the wrong size, but they are there.

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