Part I. Introduction:

There comes a time in every modern man’s life when he must fix a cabinet door. If you find this a confusing time, don't worry, you're not alone. After all, the door still opens and shuts as it is bidden. The minor wobble in its arc has caused you no harm nor need for concern. However, your wife has recently come to misunderstand metaphors, and she feels this innocuous hinge is indicative of the wobbles weaving their way into your once happy domesticity.

You have tried to solve the problem by more comfortable means. You liked your wife’s status bemoaning the cabinet door on social media. You even agreed to make a photo of the door your temporary profile pic. But here you are, holding this guide. So, make your way to the local hardware store with a mind willing to learn, a heart eager to avoid another row, and a hand holding a billiard ball.

Part II. Driving to the Hardware Store:

In your car, the seat and mirrors adjusted to your personal specifications, it is common for a mind to wander to the role of traditional patriarchal masculinity in the modern world.

Ignore these thoughts.

Regardless of whatever greater societal gender issues may be in the national dialogue, remember, you are a man with a wobbling cabinet door and a wife who believes in metaphors. All else is semantics. Simply turn up the car radio and hum along to the best of your ability until you reach your destination.

Part III. The Hardware Store:

Being so unfamiliar with testosterone a mere drive to the hardware store fills you with existential questions on the roles of the sexes in society, you might be a little overwhelmed upon entry. Avoid eye contact with anyone, avoid letting people see you consulting this handy guide (don’t worry, they’ll be busy consulting their own), and make your way to the first or last aisle to find screws.

Screws are always on either the first or last aisle. In fact, many of the finer hardware stores have begun storing them on both aisle alpha and aisle omega to avoid embarrassing patrons accustomed to another store’s display. If you don’t find screws in either location be sure your natural tendencies haven't mistakenly guided you to an organic grocer, or plaid shirt emporium.

You will likely be approached by a salesman. Tell him about the cabinet door, and thank him for his condolences regarding your marital problems. A good salesman understands misunderstood metaphors. He will tell you to buy the titanium, flat-top, candy flapper screws. Do not buy the titanium, flat-top, candy flapper screws. He will suggest the model FHLMNOP, do not purchase the model FHLMNOP. At this point, the salesman will challenge your knowledge and manhood. It is time to present your billiards ball.

Ask the salesman to identify the object in your hand. His thumping, American hardware, Y-Chromosome will announce it a pool ball. Now, you have him! Tut the air derisively and explain what your are holding is in fact a snooker ball, with four fewer millimeters in its diameter than a regulation pool ball. Properly shamed, the salesman will now suggest the correct screw and hinge combination required for your task.

Remember, it’s rude to comment on the salesman’s tears.

Part IV. The Drive Home:

Now that you have completed your purchase, and made a grown man cry, it is time to return home. No doubt the fresh feeling of adrenaline will make you even more angsty and introspective than you were when you left. You will think about the male role models you have idolized in life. You will think of your father. 

There was no way you could have known that dinner would be the last time you would see him. He was so proud, taking his son out for dinner. The check came and the waiter told him, “Whenever you’re ready.” Dad realized he wasn’t ready, didn't he. He wanted to stay in the moment longer. So he ordered dessert and the waiter brought it with an amended bill. He asked for another round of wine and the server served it with an amended bill. Soon he was tired and asked if it would be ok for him to curl up in the booth and go to sleep. “Not a problem, sir. We’ll add it to the bill. Pay whenever you’re ready.” And you left him there, and you never went back, and he never felt ready. He sits, drowning himself in baked ziti, adding to a bill you know will be handed down to your children’s children unpaid.

Part V. Fixing the Cabinet Door:

Set your purchases from the hardware store on the counter by the cabinet. Make sure the store’s label is legibly displayed. You will now hide behind the couch until your wife arrives home. Once you hear her enter, count to three and casually enter the room. By now she will have noticed the bag and will be overjoyed that you have gone to “all this trouble” just to make her happy. Turn her happiness into a kiss. Turn the kiss into sex. Hold her when you’re through because goddamn it she’s beautiful and you’ve taken it for granted too often.

Part VI. Conclusion: 

Let your mind wander, as it always does after orgasm, to the meaninglessness of existence in an expanding universe. Accept that even George Washington will be forgotten by time or erased by tragedy. Find the truth in these thoughts but do not succumb to fear of them. You are stardust in a galaxy guided toward entropy. Be energy. Be nothing and everything. Let go of the self as a separate construct and fade into oneness with the infinite. You will find peace there. Comfort. After all, you don’t even own a screwdriver.


About the Author: P.J. Kryfko is a comic writer, prose writer, journalist, and has written/produced two short films. AintitCoolNews.com calls his work “atypical and original.” His Mom calls him “Handsome.” Find him @ pjkryfko.com and @pjkryfko.

Story Songs:  "I'm a Man" by The Spencer Davis Group &  "Bad Man" by The Oblivians