In Which Our Narrator Gets A Bit Morose

Made the 100 mile trip to visit my parents Sunday; I really need to do that much more often. The only real drawback is having to also haul our pet pug-dog along, because she is the second grandchild, and the poor thing gets so over-excited that she spends the entire 90 minute trip sounding like a mule having an asthma attack. No amount of cranking up the radio counters that.

Wonder of wonders, I did that rarity: actually talking at length to my father about something besides the weather and lawn care. I often wonder what the hell was up with me, how I enforced this emotional remove from my father, going way, way back. Is it a generational thing? I seemed to succumb to some sort of outside influence – looking back, I felt it was expected of me, which makes no goddamn sense whatsoever.


I say generational because I recall all too clearly the Men’s Movement of the 90s. Remember, the drum circles, all that? Like a lot of the pop psych movements, there was a lot of nonsense associated with it. There was one thing about it that I found particularly powerful, however, and valuable: a sudden willingness to examine and analyze and think wait a minute…

One of the most important books for me was Why Men Are the Way They Are, by Warren Farrell. I found it in the Women’s Studies section of a bookstore, but it’s a book that also really, really needs to be read by men. There were far too many times I found myself reading a section and thinking, “Well, of course that’s the way it should be done…” followed almost immediately by a rueful, “No, no there really isn’t a good reason for that.” It was very eye-opening.

(I should also note that shortly thereafter I tried to read Farrell’s The Myth of Male Power, but I found it whiny and not terribly useful. But I bless him for the book I did find useful)

So that weird emotional remove – I still feel it. I work toward overcoming it with my father, I work toward overcoming it with my son. He is on the cusp of teenager-dom (shudder), and I wonder if that old reserve – which even though I know it to be there,  and to be wrong, still sits  with the apparent invulnerability of a black ice glacier – has already worked its harm.

Being human is no damned fun at all. Being an aged pug-dog in the back seat of a car working yourself up to puking with excitement is probably a lot better. But then, considering that also means a lifetime of getting people to scratch your curly butt because all the generations of in-breeding has insured you can’t do it yourself – I guess I’ll take the incertitude and complications of life.

I like being able to scratch my butt.

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