March 05, 2006

Things Men Do

(Comment before the post)This is a post that could easily be one of my best posts. All it takes is a little time and effort to polish and refine it. Truth be told, I am tired, real tired and not sure if I have it in me to produce the post that this could be. But I am too impatient not to try and write it.

It is not all that easy to be a man. I kind of like that line. It has so much potential. It allows for this to be serious, funny, sad or perhaps a combination of all three. I think that just for kicks I am going to just let this run any old way. We'll give the horse the choice of what path to take and how hard to work and see what happens.

The impetus for this post comes from watching Russell Crowe's appearance tonight at the Academy Awards. The orchestra played a clip from Gladiator. It is easily among my favorite movies. There are some great lines in it.
"Commodus: How dare you show your back to me! Slave, you will remove your helmet and tell me your name.
Maximus: [removes helmet and turns around to face Commodus] My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next."
Outstanding. It just resonates with me, and with so many men. Talk about macho and virile, oy. That movie made a big impact upon a lot of people. One of the things that I really remember is a little gesture that comes from the movie.

Prior to every battle Maximus reached down to grab a little dirt to rub between his palms. It wasn't long before you saw professional athletes and weekend warriors mimicking that gesture.

It makes perfect sense. The character was noble. He had honor and integrity. He didn't kill for love of the kill but because he had to. He had purpose. He was a natural leader and it was clear what his goal was. The only question was the way to get there.

Now things are not as clear. Now we are told to be hard but not so hard that you cannot share your sensitive side. There are mixed messages coming at us regarding tears. Some of us can cry and others find it to be tougher.

Who do you want to be. Who do you want to emulate and who do you want your children to look up to. These are fundamental questions that tie into this whole question of being male and things men do.

I look around and I listen to the stories that the boys and I share. I hear a bit of a longing for a 1950s Father Knows Best sensibility to life. It is not so much that we want to live in a place in which women are subservient. The overwhelming majority of men I know want an equal partner. Rather it is a longing for simplicity, but I am not real sure that the simplicity some of us search for was ever really there.

I suppose that really what we need to do is boil this down to the essence of it all and ask what is it that we want to do. What purpose do we wish to serve? Are we here solely to provide or is there more to it all than that.

If we can come up with answers to those questions I think that life gets to be easier. Or maybe this is really nothing more than my own conjecture.

Ok, so let us go back to the beginning and ask if we really constructed a post that adhered to the guidelines outlined by the title. Kind of, sort of. It meandered around but isn't that just like life. There are very few straight paths. Enjoy the journey and don't forget to look outside and enjoy the scenery.

5 comments:

Ger Tzadik said...

I look at it this way: If it were easy, there wouldn't be 2,000 books in the local Barnes and Noble telling you how easy it is, if you just follow their forumla.

Zeruel said...

Just take the worst possible example of a man, like Max Hardcore, and you are a paragon of virtue.

Jack's Shack said...

GT,

Maybe I should write my own book. Allow me to ponder that for a few moments.

Zeruel,

You are as cheerful as ever, I like that.

chosha said...

Don't know if you stayed within the lines you drew or not, but good post. People used to think they knew what it meant to be a man, but I think the current crop is finding out that their choices are a lot wider, and with that comes lots of decisions to make and courage needed to be true to who you really want to be.

Jack's Shack said...

It is not always easy, but we try.