Yesterday the new issue of Popular Mechanics showed up in our mailbox, and our curiosity was immediately piqued by the cover story. So we flipped over to the article, and Mr. Cranky Fibro Girl read out each item while I tallied up our scores.
Things started off well.
OK, so far I am crushing this list.
I felt pretty good about the rest of the “Ages 1-11” skills (ride a bike, hammer a nail, load a dishwasher), although I lost some points on “pitch a tent” and “paddle a canoe” since I’m only riding the coattails of my Eagle Scout husband on those.
Our scores started to diverge once we reached the “Ages 12-17” range of skills, although I can perform the task with the largest font size, which clearly ought to count for some bonus points:
Then we reached the skills one is supposed to acquire in one’s 20s, and here we are really stepping outside my wheelhouse:
Sure. Because my mad Spanish verb conjugating skillz would really come in handy here.
My husband was still doing fairly well overall, so feeling pretty confident, we cruised on over to the 30s. And that is where we saw this:
Um, really? Since when is this a must-have skill for the masses? Was I absent the day they taught that in school? And the most important question of all: exactly which audience are they trying to target here?
Because, let’s review. This is Popular Mechanics we’re talking about.
It is not How To Survive Once You Go Off Grid.
It is not Skills You Need To Master In Anticipation Of The Imminent Zombie Apocalypse.
It has nothing to do with hunting or the outdoors.
It is a magazine designed for readers who will salivate over the tear-out, pin-up, glossy centerfold featuring an extensive array of hammers. Along with articles on retro guitar amps, choosing the best hedge trimmers, the new Apple watch, and NASA’s latest sweater for astronauts.
Who is this mythical person they are trying to reach? And is anyone else afraid?