I am curious what caught your eye on this article, the picture or the title? We’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, and I think that applies here. When I first saw this sign, my brain did one of those fill-in-the-blank tricks. You know when your brain thinks it knows what it just read but when you read it again, it isn’t really what you thought? Does the sign say Man for Sale or Man Sale, for example? Hah! It said Man Sale.
I was riding in the car with my husband and chuckled when I read this sign. Once I realized what it said, I told myself it must be a tool sale. We were driving in rural Wisconsin at the time, and it caught his eye too. Since he has a handyman business, he was immediately interested. So, we followed the signs and drove to the edge of a yard where there were multiple tables, a tent, and a garage with more tables. Yep, it was a tool sale.
I chuckled again as I realized I was not the only woman browsing (pretend browsing actually, my husband was genuinely interested in tools that I wasn’t even sure what they were for). Then I heard the owners of the sale talking to other browsers about how they had been asked by other women who’ve stopped whether they also have men “for rent” (in case they wanted to return them if they didn’t work out). It all made me chuckle again.
Such a variety of tools were available. Some still in their original box, some rusty antiques, some novel items even my husband never knew existed, and some boxes of multiple small gadgets. Truly a Man Sale after all, in my mind. I consider myself to be very spoiled with a fix-it husband, so I don’t feel the need to know that stuff.
The Power of Words
Ah, the power of words, signage, and perspective. It made me think again about perspective, and how our own personal perspective on anything becomes our reality. I was talking with a woman in her 80s the other day, for example, about the price of a piece of cheesecake in a restaurant.
In one breath, she was observing how ridiculous it was for a piece of cheesecake to sell for $7. And in the next breath, she was asking about options for her maturing $100,000 CD that she doesn’t need. Her perspective was disbelief; mine was blessed irony.
Truly, to each his own. Our perspective is based on our own experiences. Who are we to judge anyone else when we have not walked in their shoes? I am not referring to extreme behaviors like criminals but more to everyday people, opinions, and actions.
It Makes You Think
So back to my sign. I started thinking more about my perspective about the tools. How would I feel if suddenly my husband was no longer in the picture to spoil me by taking care of all repairs/maintenance in our home? Would I venture into wanting and buying tools at a Man Sale to make sure I have what I need? Or do I know that I would resort to hiring help for those types of things?
I know several women who amaze me at what they know and take care of around the house. Would I become them? I think my perspective is that I am not cut out for that type of problem solving so I would need to find another handyman. Home repairs and auto work are two areas women often need to deal with for the first time after losing a spouse.
Make a List
So, I have asked my husband to tell me where he keeps his list of people he refers work to when he can’t get to it himself. Feels like a morbid thought, yet all part of my ongoing attempt to expect the best but plan for the worst. To take the overwhelm out of that perspective, I compiled an Ultimate Makeover Checklist (with 3 steps each month)to plan in advance for the money side of life, whenever that change comes.
It’s all about perspective. Are we focused on “death planning” or “life planning” when we think about these times that are guaranteed to come to fruition in the future? Taking action on that planning is the hard part. Maybe start with something smaller, like how to Avoid 3 Common Estate Planning Mistakes.
One last chuckle to share. We drove by the sign the very next day, and this is what we saw:
It turns out they do this sale annually and the price is right on the last day. That won’t change my perspective on my need for tools. But it sure keeps me grateful for my husband’s talents!
This article was first published at 60 and Me – a community that helps women over 60 live happy, healthy and financially secure lives.