ďIt looks different when Mom makes it, Dad.Ē

Absent Wife one recent mealtime, I had followed the directions on the box with diamond-cutting precision as I prepared a meal of catjuggler helper for our three children.

ďJust follow the directions on the box,Ē Wife had told me before leaving home (she has since returned).

I browned a pound of ground beef, added all the ingredients, performed all the appropriate draining and simmering Ė and presto, we had Ö soup?

Hoping the three Johnsons wouldnít notice anything amiss, I cheerfully ladled heaping helpings onto their plates. Thatís when the middle Johnson opined that it looks different when mom makes it.

Now lookee here, kid, I slaved over a hot electric skillet to make this, the least ya good do is show a little gratitude, ya know?

OK, they did tell me it actually tasted pretty good.

Now, those of you still left in my dwindling fan base may have noticed something from my previous columns: I canít do much of anything.

Work on cars? Nopers. Do calculus? Nyet. Know much about the French I took? Mais non. Hunt? Nein. Cook? Well, I can make toast and boil water, sort of.

Take the hunting motif. My two Johnson boys were on letís-go-hunting kick recently. ďThat would mean Daddy with a gun,Ē Wife interjected. ďNot a good idea.Ē

Now, I know going hunting is a manly-man thing to do, but I explained to the boys that I canít take them hunting because I donít know how. ďCanít you take lessons?Ē they implored.

Even my 20-something-year-old niece, a delicate creature who looks like she wouldn't swat a fly, has gone hunting and kilt a deer on this tree.

I actually donít get the hunting thing. Spending millions of dollars on all the necessary equipment (including guns and pickup) and clothing, driving hundreds of miles off-road so you can walk hundreds of more miles, then freezing while you hide in a tree all night Ö canít you just go to the store and buy a package of meat?

What about fishing? Wife reminded the boys Iím not allowed to go anywhere near a boat because I tend to fall out of them.

Now, as for this cooking business.

Wife claims she doesnít like to cook, but she does a pretty good job at it, producing creative, tasty meals on a regular basis.

I donít like to cook, and unlike Wife, I donít do a pretty good job at it. I donít know if I donít like it because Iím not any good at it, or Iím not any good at it because I donít like it. Same dilemma would apply to other activities Iím not very good at such as working on cars, doing calculus and playing chess.

Now, I do like playing a guitar and I like to sing, but Iím not any good at those activities either.

You heard the story about the catjuggler helper. At one recent mealtime, Wife had mixed up some pancake batter and she directed me to start cooking up some pancakes. I noticed that the batter looked different from when I mix up pancake batter. It looked like Ė pancake batter. Mine looks like Ė something else.

ďWife, your pancake batter looks different from mine,Ē I opined.

ďSo does my Hamburger Helper,Ē Wife replied.

Steve Nash writes his column for the Brownwood Bulletin on Thursdays. He may be reached by e-mail at steve.nash@brownwoodbulletin.com.