Yes. You should know how to change the toner in your printer and other things I think you should know

A co-worker lamented on his FB feed about an administrative assistant who has been working in the same position for 20 years but still didn’t know how to change printer toner. That made me sad. Then it annoyed me. Because that means this person just saw a situation that they would clearly have to encounter multiple times in their life and decided “Nope, I’m just gonna not learn that.” Why would you purposely cripple yourself this way?!

I am the first to admit I don’t know how to do certain things. But I’m also the first person to ask “show me how you did that.”

Back in 2008 Popular Mechanics wrote up a list of the 100 Things Every Man Should Know. I keep waiting for them to update that list and change it from “Every Man” to “Everyone” but nothing yet. (Come on PM, it’s 2014). But if you want to know the latest on how to buy auto parts without getting screwed, PM’s got you covered.

I looked through the list and I’ve done about half. And I’m pretty sure this is because I was raised by a tiny YET loud Vietnamese woman.


See the woman in red. That’s my mother educating some random stranger about a sale. She can’t not tell people information she thinks is important. (And that’s her patient boyfriend behind her.)

I was taught that you need to figure stuff out on your own. And remember folks, this was before the internet so that meant reading things out of paper manuals and doing a lot of trial and error. You can review the list (that includes instructions!) and decide what you want to take on. Overall, it’s a good list. Some may not be meaningful to those who aren’t near the woods and never plan to go to the woods (ME). But most makes sense.

I’ve picked my top 4 things that I honestly believe any woman and any man should know how to do. Because life is better knowing these things.

1. Jump Start a Car
This is one of the easiest things to learn and honestly it’s not that dirty. The only thing you must remember is the same lesson you learn from Ghostbusters: don’t cross the streams. Don’t touch one side of the clamps to the other. Not good. Sparks. Burnt hair. It ain’t good. It’s ridiculously easy. Here are nicely organized instructions.

2. Drive a Stick Shift
I was once on a business trip with two guys and when we got to the car rental place for some odd reason only manual cars were available. I was the only one who knew how to drive a stick shift. Yeah. The Asian lady knows how to drive a stick shift. Here’s a good video that shows how to drive stick but honestly the only way you’re going to learn is in the car. And hopefully you’ve got a patient friend or hire a teacher who doesn’t scream at you for the constant jerking that WILL occur. Driving stick is a bit tricky but once you get it you never forget.

Why should you learn stick? Cause you never know when you’re going to be stranded in some horrific situation where you’re running from a serial killer and you find a beat up truck with keys in the ignition and you’re trying to get the car going and you realize OH NO it’s manual and the maniacal killer is coming up fast and you can’t go because you didn’t listen to me and you can’t get the car going. (I’ve been watching Hannibal and True Detective alot.). You will encounter a situation where knowing manual would be really beneficial. In the US, automatics are dominant but in other parts of the world, that’s not the case.

3. Use a Circular Saw
Here in the Bay Area we’re lucky cause we have these places called TechShop. Basically it’s a place to learn woodworking, metalworking, basically stuff that’s super dangerous and involves sharp blades and fire. Growing up I never took shop. I was more interested in learning the entire Smiths discography rather than learn how to build a birdhouse. But now as I get older, I grow tired of building Ikea bookshelves that looked just depressing and sad after the year you made it. I decided I would make my own bookshelf from real wood. I took a class at Tech Shop and learned how to use a miter saw, a circular saw, wood drill presses, and sanders. OH THE SANDERS. High off the rush of using power tools, I searched online for simple bookshelf plans. And that’s how I found Ana White.  Good god, just take a look at her site. First off, she’s beautiful. Hey I like pretty things, I like pretty people. Ana is pretty. Second, she is an amazing builder. Her furniture looks like the stuff you see in Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn. Why spend $800 on a bed frame when you can make it for a 1/4 of the cost. My experiments in wood have been good.

Here’s the beginning stages of the bookshelves.


And here’s the final stage with all our Pride & Prejudice and Buffy DVDs.


Learn how to build stuff. For the ladies who might feel intimidated. Don’t be. It’s like sewing. But with harder materials.


You can also learn how to build stuff from your local Habitat for Humanity. Free building lessons and you get the most amazing weight training workout. I’ve done it several times. I always learn new things. It’s a good place to meet people who are young, single, and generous with their time. So you know…there’s a tip to possibly meet new dates. Also you can totally justify eating a whole pizza by yourself after you’re done. Cause honey…you deserve it after what you’ve done.

4. Ditch your Hard Drive
Got an old PC with Windows 95 on it and you’re thinking of donating it? Don’t just drag all the files to the trash and hit empty. You gotta go deeper. Here’s how you securely wipe a computer. I recommend that you keep the drives and donate the chassis. This way you get rid of old machines but more importantly you get to go medieval on the drives.

Get a hammer or a baseball bat, go back to that dark memory of those girls laughing at you in the junior high locker room cause you didn’t develop into a woman as quickly as they did, and just start working through that anger. WABAM. No it’s not a training bra. It’s a real bra. WABAM. No I’ve never french kissed a boy. WABAM. No I couldn’t afford jellies.

This is what it looks like when I destroy hard drives in my backyard.

Please learn how to do stuff. It’ll make you a better person. And I won’t judge you when you say you’ve never changed the printer toner.



1 Comment Yes. You should know how to change the toner in your printer and other things I think you should know

  1. Laura Hawkins

    Whoo-hoo! I (mostly) know all 4! I feel accomplished. Thans go to senior year Auto Shop, my Aunt Diane, 8th grade Wood Shop, and my brother.

    Also, I still have dreams where I can’t find my jellies and have to wear plastic hangers as shoes to school. They were CRITICAL.

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