Not only do men know all the answers to everything, they also know that it is far better to come up with a wrong answer than to ever say, “I don’t know.” Even if he doesn’t know the answer to the question, “Who’s buried in Grant’s tomb?” He will surely give you some answer. He might waffle a bit and say something vague like, “Some Civil War general.” but never, “I don’t know.” What would people think of him – especially other men – if he said that?

There’s another stage in a man’s life where he not only has all the answers but he also has too many answers. Unfortunately, none of those answers have anything to do with the question that was asked. That happens to men when they get to a certain age and they can’t remember so good any more – mostly the question that was just asked. Well, maybe that’s exactly correct. At that stage in a man’s life, he has lots of memories and answers. It’s just that not many of his answers will have much to do with the question. Think that will keep him from giving you an answer? Not likely. Ask a guy – especially a guy my age – how to get to 47th and Main and he’ll say something like this, “Oh, let’s see, 47th and Main. – long pause – I remember reading an article about the USS Maine that they sank off Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Lost a lot of lives then. Of course, not as many as during World War II when I served in the Pacific. Boy was it hot on those islands. We ran around in our underwear while the Japs were strafing us. And then when we landed back in San Diego it took them seven days to run us through the discharge process. I remember the long lines … Let’s see, 47th and Main you say? – pause – Say, did I ever tell you about the time I was walking down 47th street and a case of beer fell off that truck…?”

Now you know why men never say, “I don’t know.” And now you also know why men never ask other men for directions. They know that they will always get an answer. They know too, that just like them, the guy they are asking will tell them something – even if it’s wrong – rather than say that he doesn’t know.

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Now let’s look at the whole issue of asking questions from a different point of view. While it is known and accepted that men know everything (see Part 1) it is an equally well-known fact that women don’t know anything. Well, maybe they know a few things but they make it appear that they don’t because – as opposed to men – they are always asking questions. (If you have to keep asking questions, it’s because you don’t know anything, right?) Often it’s the same question over and over again. There is a woman in my life (who shall remain nameless for the purposes of my personal security) who insists on asking me the same question, or a variation of it, over and over again. It goes like this. “Do you want eggs for breakfast?” “No? Are you sure?” “I thought you said you like eggs. Why don’t you want any today?” And then when I give in and say, “OK, I’ll have some eggs.” She will say, “Do you want them scrambled or over easy?” Do you want bacon or sausage with them?” “Do you want toast?” “White or wheat?” “Hash browns or country style?”

See what I mean?

But there are the times when the subject is much more serious. Like what color we should paint the living room. That same woman will bring home from the paint store about thirty-seven of those little paint chip things – all of them in one or another shade of brown – and then insist that I sit with her while we hold them against the wall and every piece of furniture in the living room while she asks things like, “Do you think this look good with the couch?” “Do you think it will make the room too dark?” “Will it go with my beige dress?” Little does she know or care that I could have saved her all that trouble if she had asked me what color to paint the living room in the first place. “I would have said, “Brown.” and that would have solved the whole question.

And then there are the more serious questions about emotional things, the sort of things that never bother men because men have no emotions. When a woman has an emotional question, what does she do? She calls one of her friends, of course. Correction – she calls sixteen of her friends. Then she calls each of them back again to tell them what the other fifteen said. Then they cry a lot. Then they have lunch to talk about it some more.

I never have found out whether they ever come to any final answer because by then I am busy working in the garage with that powerful new tool I bought last week.