Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Drawers and Quarters

Once upon a time, an Englishman's home was his castle. But these days, according to this piece in the Sun by Michael McIntyre, we're reduced to one single drawer.

And he's dead right, too! Of course, the writing's been on the wall for a year or two, now. Master of all he surveyed he might well have theoretically been, but even my grandfather found it prudent to retreat to his shed when any seriously saw-dusty carpentry was on the cards.

My father didn't have a shed in the traditional sense, but he did have a garage, and it was there that he was expected to do, well, whatever oily / dusty / dirty tasks that houseproud wives don't want husbands to do on the living room floor - even if the wife is the ultimate beneficiary of their work.

But times move on, and a guy's mastery over his own home has decreased in line with governmental common sense and the honesty of politicians. Wives, like our mothers and nannies, are genetically predisposed towards "tidying up", which explains why nothing is ever where we left it - particularly if we left it there several weeks ago! It also explains why our forefathers began to fall back from the battleground of the kitchen table to the relative safety of their sheds.

Fortunately, technology, too, has advanced. The things my male ancestors wanted to keep NEEDED a room to store them in, but the ever-reducing size of modern male playthings means we can, in fact, get away with just one drawer. And, if we're truthful, a few jacket pockets, but they are strictly temporary storage - anything left therein come washing day is automatically forfeit.

So, what's in your man drawer, as Michael McIntrye calls this last bastion of the modern male? Mine contains a random scattering of floppy disks, content unknown and, after all this time, probably unknowable, a couple of screwdrivers, an ancient penknife, a bottle top, a lighter, an empty cigarette packet, an old comb, the remote for a TV that I haven't owned for several years, several watches, none of which seem to be working, various mobile phone chargers including some I don't ever remember having seen before and a whole raft of other assorted odds and ends - a USB cable, string, cough sweets, a pair of tights presumably belonging to Mrs S, a magnetic chess set (WHY??), paper clips, keys, some prehistoric Esso Tiger Tokens ...

Basically, it's junk. Most of this stuff could go in the bin tomorrow, but it won't. It's mine (except the tights, obviously!) and it's in the last, tiny part of the world that I can say falls entirely under my control. Castles, sheds and garages may have fallen before the ever advancing tide of politically correct equality, but in that drawer I reign supreme, and the battle for control of its content will be to the death!

Billy Seggars.

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