Friday, January 18, 2008


The other night I was for some reason or other feeling like I wanted to get into a fight. Not with anyone in particular, I was just really wanting to take out all my pent up anxiety on some deserving enemy with a large sword or maybe a chain mace. The battle cry was actually ringing in my ears, and I don’t mean the utterance of some haughty nobleman on the back of his horse, “Onward! For the king!” I mean a scary sound, an I’m-coming-over-there-to-KILL-you sound that would take a lot of energy to make and encourage anyone fighting with me to fight harder. A sound that would make the guy I’m after think that maybe fighting me wasn’t such a good idea.

Thinking all this reminded me of my college buddy Marty, who watches Braveheart once a year, religiously. If you’re not familiar it’s about the Scottish hero William Wallace who gathered a rag-tag band that eventually had some success beating back the British. But, while I am rather dashing in a kilt, I don’t currently own a sword, and British oppression isn’t really such an issue in my neighborhood. So I took a deep breath, during which the hordes of sweaty combatants fled my imagination and I sent him a text message.

“Seen Braveheart yet this year?”

“Yes, actually”

“It’s been a while for me… Nothing like a good battle cry and mooning your enemy to really make you feel like a man.”

And I went back in the house to do the dishes.

This is my situation. My enemies can’t be killed. My enemies are piles of dishes and tax forms and the poorly crafted door handles on my truck. Rude store clerks and snippy clients assail me daily and yet never once am I provided with the opportunity to slug somebody. Most of the time I even refrain from speaking my mind. I have to live and work around here after all and I already have trouble without being known as the guy who spits insults at everyone and occasionally sounds like Groundskeeper Willy.

Here I stand, still a young man, strong and fit, ready for battle but completely untrained. I was built from the ground up to hunt and fight and kill, to defend my home from the offending hordes. And with all that at my disposal I’m reduced to making sure I get my social security number right on my W-9 form so that I don’t get sent a bunch more paperwork.

I’ve always had these feelings. All my life I wondered why I my inner feelings are at odds with what is required of me: be nice, do your job, don’t offend, don’t respond to that bully. Modern society requires that I suppress what comes naturally, leaps to the surface actually. Instead of fighting for the honor of the maiden, I’d better just do the dishes and try not to irritate anybody.

These ideas aren’t very well formed and not entirely my own. I was given a book last year called “Wild At Heart” that expresses far more elegantly the disparity between male instinct and societal pressure. It explained to me the feelings I had always struggled with and showed me how to be a man if a modern world without being a wimp. I don’t ever read books that are given to me, and rarely advise anyone else about what they should read. But this one’s an exception. If you’re wondering where all the adventure is, the battles, the quests and challenges, you ought to read it.

That’s probably quite enough about swords and fighting and whatnot, I likely shouldn’t write about such things too often. If you happen to witness any injustices that seem to require some work with a sword though, send me an e-mail. I’ll grab my kilt and be right over.

1 comment:

  1. dude i am so just starting to read that book this week.
    i have been on a book reading frenzy lately.
    it's such a good book!
    maybe have Pam start reading the other book: Captivating.
    it's like the woman version. kinda.
    i have it if she wants to borrow it.
    BTW i really enjoy reading your blogs.


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