What Exactly Is It That You Do-Do?*

Nordic Boy is the poster child for the term “consummate professional.” Really, as I go through all of the people that I know, many of whom are tops in their field and superstars in their own right, he rises to the very top of the list, by far, when it comes to those who know their shit when it comes to what they do. He’s called upon by people all over the country for help, and he collects industry awards by the armload every year, which he brings home, never shows anyone, and then I run across a fancy award graveyard in the back of our garage, ask him about it, and he looks at me and just shrugs. That’s because, although he’s kind of a genius at what he does, he’s also at the top of another category of folks: those who keep it humble, like Jenny from the Block, or Fergie, who still eats at Taco Bell. Ok, maybe not exactly like Jenny and Fergie. Like them, but not full of shit. Slight difference.

On a conscious level, I am proud that he is like this. It’s one of the things I love most about him. He’s wicked smart but never shows it off, and I find that kind of incredible when people are like that. Really, most people who are good at stuff totally wear it on their sleeve, and there’s nothing wrong with that, for sure. If I were a genius at something, I fear I would be silkscreening t-shirts for myself proclaiming my talent (“World’s Greatest Pickle Briner!”) and prancing about town making people want to kick me in the nuts. But not him. He just doesn’t do it.

Ok, true confession time? This quality, sometimes, drives me INSANE. Really, it does. When people ask him what he does, he never really tells them. He glosses over. He understates. He almost goes out of his way to not tell people. Even our closest friends don’t really know what he does. The other day, we went out to dinner with some new friends, H and R. Imagine my surprise when H asked him what he does, and he TOLD THEM. I had to stop myself from making a Scooby sound. arrrrhh? He just up and told them all about it. Ok, maybe it was less “all about it” and more two or three sentences, but WOW. Where did that come from? It was really shocking.

Ok, so my point is that he’s good at what he does. More than good, actually. Tops. Why, then, do I start to shake in my boots every time he does a little home improvement project? Because I do. I try not to, but I can’t seem to help myself. I am convinced that, when he changes a light switch cover, his hand may slip and he might somehow have a freak accident whereby a bolt of lightning hits our house, charging the wiring that is near his hand, sparking out at the precise moment flowing right into his brain and it will fry right up and cause him to DIE. Really. These are the thoughts that take over. And normally, I am not a morbid person, or a worried person, walking around thinking about people dropping dead. What is wrong with me?

Yesterday, while I was at work, he was moving the water heater from our laundry room downstairs to the utility room, and then re-routing some pipes. I could not begin to tell you what all this entails because I do not understand such things, but I’m sure this doesn’t seem like rocket science to anyone out there. On a scale of difficulty for him, I don’t think it even registered on the scale. And yet:

Me: I’m leaving for work now. BE CAREFUL today.
Him: I will.
Me: Keep your phone in your pocket. I’m going to call you on my break to make sure you’re ok.
Him: Ok from what?
Me: I just want to make sure you don’t electrocute or anything.
Him: From re-wiring a water heater? I don’t think that will happen.
Me: It’s WATER. And ELECTRICITY. Together. That freaks me out!
Him: Ok, call.

A couple of hours into my work shift, I see that he’s left me a message.

Him: It’s me. I’m done with the water heater. I’m alive. I’m going to eat lunch.

On my lunch break, I call him back.

Me: What are you doing?
Him: Putting in the new duct work for the dryer.
Me: Be careful!
Him: Oh my god.

An hour later, I find this message on my voicemail:
Him: I did the duct. And guess what? I’m aliiiiiiiive! Aliiiiiiiiiive!* Thank god almighty I’m still walking the earth! Thank Jesus! I’m aliiiiiiive!

I love this man. And yet, how he mocks me.

Kiss the rings, I’m out.
Librarian Girl

* That’s two references to the same movie. I’m so talented.

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8 comments

  1. You’re not alone! Chris was making some window screens for this job he’s doing. I went down to the basement to find him using his table saw. Well the blade sticks up out of the table and you run the wood over it. It TOTALLY freaks me out. All I could think of was his fingers getting chopped off!

  2. Oh my, here we go again. First I miss out on the LYLAS, now I am wracking my wee brain to figure out what movie you are referencing.Way to go Nordic Boy for keeping modesty alive. I was watching the Dog Whisperer the other day and was appalled that some stupid dog owner had to throw in that her husband graduated from Harvard. Which just makes Harvard graduates actually look stupid for not being able to control their dogs.

  3. Okay, so not to be petty, but how come H and R get to find out what Nordic Boy does? I’ve known him for over a decade and his exact job description is still a little cloudy for me…For French Panic, LYLAS=Love Ya Like a Sister and Young Frankenstein is the glorious flick you are looking for!

  4. I’m guessing Nordic Boy is a scientist, currently working on reanimating dead tissue. This would tie your references directly to your post with ingenius subtlety. Also, why is there a “b” in subtlety? It makes no sense.Okay, I’m leaving, I’m leaving.”Ygor, can you help me with the bags?””Certainly. You take the blonde, and I’ll take the one with the turban. RrrrrrrrrrUUUFFFF!”

  5. To French Panic, I hate it when people throw in where they went to school. In library school, we had a guy who started every sentence with either “When I was at Berkeley” or “Well at Berkeley.” He was mocked constantly by our little bitchy mean girl group. Also, I must admit: anytime I hear “Putting on the Ritz” I have to sing it like the monster. Pure comic gold!

  6. My boyfr— er, husband (still not used to that) never brags about any of his accomplishments, and I find that quality quite charming. Modesty is hot.

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