ERROL CASTENS: What men do



The Coffee Clutchers were in our natural habitat down at Arthur’s reprobate shop, overworking our kidneys with the coffeepot and giving the rest of our bodies some time off.

We suspected Phil was listing us as prospective clients on his outside-sales paperwork to justify his time, and we knew for a fact that Oliver needed to be researching pottery shards, not intact coffee cups, for his thesis on Chickasaw culture.

Maurice was procrastinating on a needed call to his recalcitrant stockbroker, and even Bro. Earl (no relation) was skipping out of study even though he was only up to No. 4 in a 12-point sermon on propitiation.

Since none of us was doing anything, naturally the subject arose of what a man should be able to do before he is issued his man card.

Stu said he’d learned from 14 years of marriage and 11 years of fatherhood that a man should be able to cook and serve a substantial meal and clean up the kitchen afterward.

Chester went to another part of the manability spectrum.

“A man must safely handle and shoot a double-action revolver, a bolt-action rifle and a pump-action shotgun,” he said. “Bonus points are awarded for knowing how to handle an AR-15, a breakdown rifle and Tannerite.”

Clyde took a more everyday approach.

“A man should know how to change a flat tire, a car’s oil and filter, and a diaper,” he said. “He should also be able to change his mind when proven wrong.”

“A good man strives to hold his wife and children close, to hold a job and to hold his temper,” Walt interjected. Looking at me, he added, “And whenever he begins to think he’s wisdom incarnate, he strives to hold his tongue.”

Mac got a round of applause when he offered, “I’d vote for any candidate who can gut a deer, gut a debate opponent and gut half the agencies in the federal government.”

Bro. Earl said basic knowledge for any man should include the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, the books of the Bible, the fourth stanza of the Star-Spangled Banner, the second sentence in the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.

Maurice insisted, “A competent man can read a road map, a flow chart and a spreadsheet. Reading all other instructions is optional, and reading his wife’s mind is impossible.”

Bud looked my way when he opined that any self-respecting man should be able to use a Bobcat without turning it over or tearing something up.

He added, “Really, a man will be OK if he can use Super Glue without getting stuck, a plumber’s snake without getting bit and a plumb bob without hypnotizing himself.”

Contact Daily Journal reporter ERROL CASTENS at (662) 816-1282 or

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