Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Learning to Do the Right Things

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Learning to Do the Right Things

Article excerpt

THE NEW YORK TIMES recently ran a piece by Hal Rubenstein and Jim Mullen that included a list of Actions You Should Know How To Do.

As the list appeared in a special men's fashion magazine, rather than one of general interest, we may assume, I suppose, that the list was directed primarily to men. I think, however, that it is applicable to both genders; furthermore, I've added a few to the original list of actions that everyone should be able to undertake in order to function in this life.

I have a friend who, expressing delight with her new daughter-in-law, said, "and she even knows how to sew!"

Real women, my friend explained, know how to sew. They don't have to sew, she said, but they know how.

Well, I say real people know how to sew, not just real women. However, I define sewing as nothing more involved than attaching a button and mending a seam or hem. And everybody ought to know how to do that.

Understand. You probably will spend your whole life not actually doing most of the following, but you should at least know how, in case of emergency or merely as a matter of convenience.

Original New York Times List:

Tie a bow tie on someone else

Cook a meal from scratch in someone else's kitchen

Keep a secret


Perform CPR

Bargain when the opportunity presents itself

Console someone without platitudes

Change a diaper

Take a compliment with grace

Let yourself be seduced in a part of the house without a mattress

Drive a car

Additions To Original List:

Change a tire

Hail a cab

Use the library's electronic card catalog


Microwave a baked potato

Make at least one kind of soup

Apply for credit

Sew on a button

Take up a hem

Make a green salad

Tie a tie on someone else, not just a bow tie, as suggested above

Tie a slip knot

Dance a simple box step

Check the oil in your car

Hang a picture

Boot up a computer

Replace a washer

Diagram a sentence

Play gin

Say the Lord's Prayer and a simple grace

Sing the first verse of both "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "Amazing Grace"

Bake a batch of cookies

Find the North Star

Set a digital clock and timer

Open a wine bottle

Make a bed

Make a decent cup of coffee

Wrap a present

Wrap a package for mailing

Iron a shirt

Drive a stick-shift

Make a long-distance phone call from any type of pay phone, using only one quarter and a credit card

Paint a door or wall

When I showed this list to a friend, he quickly added the following:

Wring a chicken's neck, pluck it, cut it up into pieces, then fry it up in a pan

Bait a hook

Start a fire without matches

Remove someone's appendix

Dig a latrine

At least one way to skin a cat

Oh, really now. …

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