Be a Man

August 29, 2010

Be a man.  That’s a very popular phrase.  But being a man is getting harder and harder to do.  Each generation of men before me made the world a softer place.

My parent’s generation had Vietnam.  Their parent’s generation had WWII and the Great Depression.  Keep going back each generation of men had something worse and worse to deal with: World War I, the Steel Mills, no deodorant, the Civil War, settling the Wild West, slavery, circumnavigating the globe, the black death, hunting Whooly Mammoths.  What struggle do I have?  No one writes on my Facebook wall?

We don’t have to deal with any tough stuff anymore and it’s made us all soft.  The worst thing young men have to deal with now is cyber-bullying.  You know what my grandpa’s answer to cyber-bullying is?  “Punch them in the face.  I don’t see what the big deal is.  If someone is saying some stuff about you that isn’t true.  You punch them in the face.”  There used to be some nobility in fighting.  If two men had a beef they’d go outside and punch each other until they thought “Eh…this guy ain’t so bad.”  That’s why boxer’s and MMA fighters always hug each other after the final bell rings.

People were physically tougher back then.  My dad went to Catholic school and he got his ass kicked….by the teachers.  It was like Singapore.  “You’re late for class!”  THWACK THWACK.  If he was chewing gum, they wouldn’t tell him to throw it away.  They’d knock his teeth out.  Solved that problem.  But kids today can act out because teachers really have nothing to threaten them with.  “Hey, if you don’t behave I’m going to call your mother or your father or your step-mother or your psychiatrist and I will schedule a conference call with them sometime later this month to discuss your punishment.”

You ever try comparing life stories will an older man?  You will get trumped every time.  My dad wrestled a bear!  He has photographic evidence of this.  It was in a mall in the 70’s.  The bear was muzzled and stuff, but still!  A bear!  How can I ever do anything that compares to that?  I’d have to get on a plane, fly to Morocco and pay thousands of dollars to a German expatriate with one ear to get that type of opportunity now.

Even medicine was rough.  Just forty years ago, my dad broke his fingers playing basketball but didn’t do anything about it and they healed all wrong.  He went into his doctor a few months later to see what they could do.  The doctor said, “Put your hands up on that table and let me take a look.”  He sort of fiddled around a bit and checked the joints.  “Hmm.  Let me see something.”  He reached up into his bookshelf and got a huge medical dictionary and started to look something up.  The doctor took off his reading glasses, closed the book and BAM! smashed my dad’s fingers.  He had to re-break them to get them to heal right.

Compared with what they used to do 100 years before that.  If you broke your fingers during the Civil War, they’d cut your whole arm off.

So if you are a man 40 or under be thankful for the hard men that came before you.  They made the world a softer place for all of us.


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