Shock! Horror! A peek inside PM editor’s ‘Man Drawer’

Some of the contents of the PM editor's Man Drawer. This neat arrangement is only from the top layer of stuff; there's more below.
Date:30 April 2013 Author: Alan Duggan Tags:,

Among the funniest sketches in the repertoire of British comedian Michael McIntyre is “Man Drawer”, in which he describes the weird assortment of stuff that men keep in a particular drawer somewhere in the house… you know, just in case. In keeping with our policy of transparency in all things, I’m happy to reveal the contents of my own repository (please do not confuse this with suppository, which is something quite different). Here goes:

  • Voice recorder. I last used this while covering the Truth and Reconciliation hearings for the Sunday Times. It may come in handy one day when I need to prove to my wife that she actually did use that word.


  • Ceramic sign that adorned my bedroom door when I was about eight. My mother gave it to me a few months ago, bless her, and I have absolutely no idea why I’m keeping it.
  • TV B-Gone. This teensy remote device scans frequencies at the press of a button and switches off virtually any TV. I bought it off the Internet years ago with the intention of using it in a sports bar during a big game, abandoning the idea when my wife pointed out that the fans would probably kill me.
  • Collection of old keys that don’t appear to fit any lock in the house. As McIntyre says, every man has these, and so they should.
  • Gold-plated helicopter lapel pins – a gift from my hosts after a trip to Russia last year. (They also presented me with something that resembled a desiccated horse penis, which later turned out to be equine jerky.)
  • 40 roubles. I’m keeping these in case I meet someone who says: “You don’t have any roubles, do you?”
  • Police whistle (to fight crime, naturally).
  • Remote control for pedestal fan. The fan stopped working two days after I bought it. That was five years ago, and I’m still hoping to find a use for it.
  • A plastic Angry Bird with missing eyes, a gift from my niece after a trip to the Far East. I remain harmlessly obsessed with the game.
  • Large Maglite torch. For use on camping trips and during power outages, and for hitting burglars on the head.
  • Pedometer. This seriously dorky gadget appeared from nowhere; its ownership remains a mystery.
  • Small wireless mouse. Presumably for people with tiny hands?
  • Tiny electric motor and compact solar panel. I remember buying these years ago with the intention of building a solar-powered toy of some kind, possibly some kind of grasshopper thingy.
  • Mini-multitool. Clearly made for people of tiny stature.
  • Vibrator. This item, originally purchased with the intention of creating a unique cocktail-mixer, was duct-taped to the dashboard of PM’s very first Red Bull Box Cart with the intention of impressing the judges with our “cool vibes”. They were indeed impressed; speechless, in fact.
  • Tyre pressure gauge with Imperial measurements. This has never been used, but one day, when I decide to explore the rugged hinterland in my urban runabout, it will come into its own.
  • Black eye patch. Useful for pirate-themed parties.
  • User manual for very old Samsung cellphone that was stolen from my daughter during her school outing. Useful prompt for soliloquies on South Africa’s culture of dishonesty.
  • Instructions (in Spanish) for unidentifiable product, possibly a washing machine.
  • Framed picture of a good friend who died in a bike crash many years ago. He was a news photographer and keen skydiver who once managed to take a picture of himself and a friend playing chess in free-fall.
  • Assorted batteries (another McIntyre staple). One day, someone will invent a way to revive non-rechargeable batteries.
  • Remote sensor for Oregon Scientific weather station. It became superfluous almost immediately when my wife disagreed with its data.
  • Three sets of gold-plated cufflinks. Who wears these things? And why do I still have them?
  • 3D glasses. I paid R5 for these, and dammit, I’m not throwing them away.
  • Lufthansa eye shade, last used after PM’s 10th birthday party in the interests of scholarly research.

And that’s just the top layer of my Man Drawer. The lower level, which space precludes us from exploring in this blog, features such gems as an energy-saver bulb, a Piggies game that has never been played, a spotlight bulb, brass box, MP3 player, USB flash drives, mini-torch, Prestik, nail clipper, pewter picture frame, old NEC cellphone, Vivitar camera, silver-plated business card holder, and a substantial collection of frequent flyer membership cards.

If you can beat this eclectic feast with the contents of your Man Drawer, and would like to share your serendipitous experience (for example, finding the dinner menu from your first date 16 years ago), we’d be glad to hear from you. Please e-mail details to with Man Drawer in the subject line.

P.S. You may be wondering what any of this has to do with a sci-tech title. Well, some of the items in the drawer are sort of tech-ish, and you might care to view the blog from the perspective of a social anthropologist, which is sort of science-ey.

P.P.S. Check out Michael McIntyre’s hilarious Man Drawer sketch