I bought a wood-burning stove in early December. To split the firewood, I bought an axe, a sledgehammer, and a maw. I figured it would be pretty macho to split logs outside, especially while my wife surreptitiously watched from the window, longing for me. I even broke an axe the first day: such is my power.

I chopped quite a bit. I sweated a lot. I got better at hitting the log where it needs to be hit.   Some logs, I found, were too big. So I went to a big home improvement store (which I will identify by name as soon as they are willing to pay me for such exposure) to buy a chainsaw.

There were lots of different chainsaws: big ones, small ones, electric ones, gas-powered ones.  I couldn’t decide which one to get, so I asked a guy wearing a tool smock for help. This was apparently beyond his area (aisle?) of specialization, so he radioed for another guy.

The guy who came to help me arrived and looked me up and down for a moment.  He announced, “You should get the electric one, eight inch blade.” That sounded good — until I looked around. The whole aisle was a progression of chainsaws, from smallest to largest. The 8-inch blade was the smallest.  It was also the cheapest.

“You can use this little one close to the house, real easy, just plug it in,” he said.  What I heard, though, was: Mama’s boy. Afraid to venture forth into the wilderness with your tiny chainsaw. You will go only as far as the umbilical cord allows.

I looked down the row again and saw the chainsaws went up to 20 inches. There weren’t even electric ones at that size – they were all gas-powered.  “I’ll take the 16 inch. Gas powered,” I said. (I thought the 20 inches would make me look like I was compensating for some deep inadequacy.) I paid with a ____  Gold Card (I’ll state the name of this  if they pay me for such exposure – or reduce my balance). Somehow that felt macho.

Strangely, cutting up wood with the chainsaw feels macho, too —  way more than it does with the axe. I’ve been wondering why — I mean, sometimes I hardly break a sweat.

Now I think I understand.  Macho is not about using your muscles.  It’s about how much destructive power you can hold in your hands.

Macho is about summoning and commanding an army, not fighting in the army with a single weapon in your hands.

It’s about owning a football team, not playing on it.

It’s about having people work for you, not serving someone else.

I’ve already put my chainsaw away: I’m going to hire someone to cut up my wood for me.

That should impress my wife — and maybe even the neighbors.