The Movie: Mystery Men, 1999 (Neil Cuthbert, screenwriter, based on the comic books by Bob Burden; Kinka Usher, dir.)
Who says it: William H. Macy as The Shoveller, a most unusual super-hero.
The context: The Shoveller defends his mission to his loving but baffled wife (Jenifer Lewis)
How to use it: To take pride in an underappreciated skill.
The problem with book learning is that it doesn't leave you with many practical skills. I'd like to be good with my hands. I'm an okay cook, but I'd like to be deft about it, the way they are on TV. I'm not bad with a hammer, but I'd like to be able to build things without supervision.
Every so often I go through a phase of deciding to do something really practical, like take a course in car repair. I've been talking about taking a course in car repair ever since I bought my first car. The other day, at the library, I picked up a listing of summer adult education programs, and "Automotive Repair" was the first category I looked at.
The problem is, I don't even understand the course names. They're all certification programs, and I'd need to go back to school just to get the vocabulary to understand what the teachers are talking about.
It's another adjustment of mid-life, the recognition that some things will always be beyond me. I will never know how to fix a car. I will never be good with my hands. I'm still not completely okay with that, which I cling to as the last vestiges of youth.
And while we're on the subject, happy birthday to Steve Weisberg, who was once my high school boyfriend and will always be part of my family. And happy Passover, everybody.