My wife, Miss Kitty, was reading an article this week that said many adult males don’t want to quarantine or wear face masks, even during an epidemic, because it isn’t manly. Hearing this made me glad I gave up my “man card” a few years ago.
Not that the he-men of Michigan would accept me…I doubt it very much. I don’t own an automatic weapon, I can’t grow a decent beard and I have the ability to change my mind. Sometimes, I even read things with divergent viewpoints to formulate opinions on important topics. My sleep is untroubled by the deep state, unisex bathrooms or black helicopters.
It was blood pressure that finally moved me off the dime a little less than four years ago. After nearly forty years of smoking, I had a wheeze but no other outward signs of bad health. So, I reasoned, why bother with doctors? Having a heart attack and dying did not scare me. What I was afraid of was having a serious stroke and then living, becoming trapped inside a body that would no longer do my bidding. I went in for a physical and if I was being graded the way we were in school, I would have received something like a C-minus.
I came clean with the doctor about decades of depression and occasional crippling anxiety and came away with a regimen of medication and new strategies to live a longer, healthier life. I knew I was trading in my man card, but what good had it done me? You don’t get discounts with the damn thing. Basically, all it does is provide admittance to a world where we behave recklessly. Danger is a selling point. A scar is a badge of courage. A foolhardy action will be re-captioned as bravery.
So I’ve decided to stick around for a while. It’s amazing how good food smells four years later. I know about a number of cancers I do NOT have. I plan to be around when Miss Kitty’s hair turns white, should such a thing ever occur. I don’t like taking all of these pills, but I do. My thinking is more organized and with less anxiety, my decision-making is less crisis-based. My blood pressure is stable. I haven’t been a smoker since October 27, 2016, though I think about cigarettes every day.
Today we find ourselves collectively in a health crisis. I’d rather not wear a face mask that makes my mustache tickle my nose, but I don’t want to be part of the problem. I miss baseball and hugging people I love. Like you, I don’t see when or how this thing ends. We are all having to deal with this in our own way. The directions on the back of the man card say
1 1) If you don’t know how to act in a certain situation, respond with anger
2 2) Refuse to acknowledge perfectly legitimate fears
3 3) If you can’t do anything constructive, lash out at others to cover your confusion
Possession of those darn cards might have something to do with why the average American woman outlives the average male by more than seven years. I wish they would hear me when I say they have options, but I guess I would be treading on them if I suggested we can’t just ignore, or beat up coronavirus.
A couple of weeks ago, I was dealing with the stresses of COVID very well, until I wasn’t. I found myself reticent to go outside and then pretty much refused to go out at all. I guess I could have put on some camo and drove my pick-up to Lansing to register my discontent, but it seems odd in the Internet age to do the equivalent of howling at the moon. I spoke to my doctor about my anxiety and my medication and we are making a new plan for the new circumstances, the way we will all be doing when the country opens up again.
Maybe I can’t change anyone’s mind, but for what it’s worth, the benefits of a man card are few, unless you factor in your ability to trade it for a toe tag.