Man Gift Series: Jack Arnold’s Journal

9 Nov

For Man ThoughtsHalf the time I’m asked advice about gift giving (and by half I mean 1 of the 2 times I was asked advice about gift giving before I decided I was an expert on it and started a blog) the question is, What can I give to the men in my life? There just aren’t as many ideas out there for the fellas: Ties? Dress socks? BBQ equipment? And making a craft to give to a man only makes things more difficult: Bedazzled tie clip? Fuzzy knitted dress socks? Beaded BBQ tong charms?

Enter: Man Journal. A homemade gift that can be tailored to any type of male. Even if he’s not into recording secret man thoughts, there are all sorts of things a man can do with his man journal (man word count so far: 7). Ladies men and ballers can keep all the fake phone numbers they get inside; business men can use it as a handy place to keep their to-do lists and Secretary’s Day reminders; and bodybuilders can record their calorie intake, exercise regime, and steroid use inside. Card game scores, honey-do lists, screenplay ideas, and more. Endless man possibilities.

My inspiration for the above journal was none other than the ultimate Man’s man, Jack Arnold. You may know him as Kevin’s dad on The Wonder Years or that guy who’s always frowning and talking about gettin’ started on those rain gutters. Here he is just tryin’ to get a meal in without his kids yappin’ at him:

The Ultimate Man

Mr. Arnold was a man of his time: a veteran, a hard worker, a “damn lawn mower” repairman. So when I plucked a book titled “Good News for the Modern Man” off of the free book shelf at my library, I knew I’d found what I was looking for. Let’s face it: with a hippy, a Wayne, and a kid who’s always hanging around that bad news Winnie Cooper for children, he could use some good news.

I carefully ripped the original pages out of the book so I didn’t tear the spine. Then I bought some new graph paper and cut the pages to fit the book. I sewed together tiny pamphlets of the graph pages and glued them into the binding (Tip: make sure to use really good glue, preferably glue that’s specifically for book binding, but I think Modge-Podge will work okay too). After that, I secured the book with some rubber bands and let it dry for a few days. For much better instructions on how to bind your own book, check out the instructables website. I’m not a pro, but I think it turned out pretty well:

For the Everyman's Thoughts

check out my old lady hand

Since Mr. Arnold only exists in our hearts and on my bootleg copy of The Wonder Years, I can’t really give this to him. What I can do is daydream about what he would write in this journal if Norma gave it to him for Father’s Day. Something like, “Busted my hump all day again at the office. Karen and Wayne keep mouthing off and Kevin just stares at me for long periods of time and doesn’t say anything. It’s almost as if he’s hearing someone else’s voice narrating his thoughts. Somethin’s wrong with that kid. Oh, well. Work’s work. A day’s a day. Gotta get started on those rain gutters. Love, Jack.”

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One Response to “Man Gift Series: Jack Arnold’s Journal”

  1. Roger November 21, 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    No insights into the Man Journal, but I do have a mildly amusing Wonder Years story:

    When I was about 16, I was a counselor at the Jeff Lakes summer day camp in NJ. One of the kids in my group of 8 year-olds was Josh Saviano, who went on to play Kevin’s nerdy best friend.

    The main reason I remember Josh was because every once in a while he had to miss camp to audition for some commercial. Nice kid, good athlete. Popular without being an a-hole, which isn’t always the case, even that young.

    Yes, this is what passes for brushes with fame in my life…

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