WITH global controversy raging about equal opportunities, it may be a bit risky to admit in print that I have an old-fashioned, deep-rooted need to be the man of the house.

But the truth is that, like blokes everywhere, I want to be the one who comes heroically to the rescue – to be courageous, resilient, strong and, yes, manly when the call comes.

So, imagine my sense of betrayal when I came home the other day to find my wife looking longingly through the front door at the postman, with a large jar of jalapeno peppers in her hand.

It was just as well I arrived home when I did because she was about to ask him to get the lid off for her. No matter how hard she’d tried, it wouldn’t come off, so the postman had seemed the perfect solution when she heard the letters drop on the doormat.

Don’t get me wrong – he’s a jolly good postman: very polite, walks at a brisk pace, and I have no reason to believe he doesn’t have a strong grip. But, I’m sorry, it’s not his job to get the lid off a jar of jalapeno peppers for my wife. It would have been the ultimate humiliation if word had got out.

“Can you try and get this off for me?” she asked, handing me the jar. “I was going to ask the postman but now you’re here…”

“Yeah, sure,” I replied, assuming a manly position: the jar held against my thigh with my left hand while my right hand concentrated on the unscrewing.

Now, I don’t know how they secure those lids at the jalapeno factory but, whatever method they use, it can’t be natural. I tried my manliest, until my face was as scarlet as a red pepper and my hands were blistered, but the lid simply wouldn’t budge.

“There’s no way that’ll come off,” I said, running my hands under a cold tap and thinking to myself that it was a job for the fire brigade, with that specialist equipment they have to free people from cars.

I sensed that my wife’s thoughts were still with the postman, but his brisk pace had taken him down another street.

Just then, our eldest son, Christopher, called round for a visit with our baby grand-daughter, Chloe.

“Will you have a go at getting this lid off for me?” his mother pleaded.

I started to laugh, but managed to disguise it as a cough. He might be 27 and a dad, but he’s still a boy in my eyes.

“I’m telling you, there’s no way anyone’s going to get that lid off – it’s on too tight,” I said.

Chris took the jalapeno jar from his mum, gave the lid a nonchalant twist, and it came off without any fuss whatsoever.

All I’m saying is that I’d obviously loosened it for him.

The things they say

THANK you to Lisa Armes for getting in touch on Twitter about her two-year-old son. According to little Jack, television character the Highway Rat doesn’t say “Stand and deliver!” Instead, he thunders: “Stand in the river!”.

THANKS also to Maggie Reynolds, also on Twitter, for telling me about her little boy Sam’s first day back at school in Middlesbrough. The children were having a class discussion about the best thing that had happened over Christmas.
“Giving my sprouts to our dog under the table without anyone knowing,” he replied.

MEANWHILE, Northern Echo colleague Matt Westcott is considering his future after receiving some home truths from his little boy Ethan: “Being a newspaper man is boring – why don’t you become a wrestler,” he said.