By Dan Miller
February 6, 2009
If you watch those home decorating shows on cable, you might conclude that some innovative young home designer dreamed up the idea of man- caves.
After all, the man-cave is the newest "must-have" feature in many family homes these days.
But don't be misled -- thousands of years ago -- when families literally lived in caves, I feel confident there were little auxiliary cave-rooms chiseled somewhere near the main dwelling.... a place where the cave-guys could go do a little "stone repair work".... or discuss the recent hunt.... or practice using their sticks, stones, clubs and spears.
(Incidentally, you can probably credit those ancient sticks, stones, clubs and spears with being the forerunner to two important present- day phenomena.... the military-industrial complex.... and golf.)
Simply stated, a man-cave is an extension of boyhood tree houses, where our budding imaginations could run wild.... and girls were not allowed.
(I'm not sure what we boys were thinking back then, but those were the rules, and they seemed to make sense at the time.)
Here in 2009 the man-cave is a room, garage or some other space where the man of the house (and perhaps his pals) might hang out to watch games, shoot pool, play cards, solder wires, glue broken things together, clean tool boxes, or do other things that the womenfolk would rather not be done in the living room.
Some men even like barber chairs and gym lockers in their man- caves.... or ventilators to remove cigar smoke.
The first man-cave I remember was the basement of the house where I grew up.
My dad had hauled many wheelbarrows full of red Georgia clay out from beneath our house, and converted that sprawling, damp area into a place no self-respecting female would ever care to visit.
It was filled with work tables and benches, drills, air compressors, tons of wires, vice grips, shop lights, tools of every conceivable kind, duck tape, electrical tape, spare parts for most everything upstairs, hoses, small engines and quite a few contraptions and gadgets that were unidentifiable.
There was also a wealth of dust and grime.
It never really crossed my mind that this was my father's man-cave.
For a young boy it was simply a wonderland where it really didn't matter if you had mud on your shoes or grease on your hands.
It was a place where -- if crumbs or paper dropped on the floor -- it was no big deal.
You could just leave it there until it disintegrated, or until the annual sweeping took place.
I recall my mother occasionally venturing onto the steps that led down to the basement, to call us for supper.... but I don't recall ever seeing her actually there in the basement.
Today, my wife demonstrates the same self-denial, rarely entering my junky little room in our basement, which I prefer to call my "audio room" because I keep an old turntable there.
Well, I'd better stop writing for now.
I just informed Karen that I needed to go to the basement to find a particular pair of pliers so I can fix an extension cord.
That seemed to sound reasonable to her.
I'll reappear upstairs in an hour or so.