To Be A Man

Spring, 1980.

My father and step mother were in the living room. It was easy to keep track of what they were doing, because he had a chuckle, and she had a laugh that was both huge and sweet at the same time. They were watching one of those TV shows that I thought was boring. Taxi.

I had other plans that evening.

I said my goodnights and went to my bedroom, quietly closing the door behind me.

A series of chuckles from down the hall told me that this was a fine time to... well... to experiment. I reached into my book-bag in search of something I'd picked up at school that day.

It was a book.

The truth of the matter is that there's a lot of pressure on nine year olds. Nine is, what, a step or two away from being an adult, right? It's one year away from double-digits for chirst sake! As a child on the road to becoming a man, I knew what was expected of me. And I knew I wasn't living up to those expectations.

Boys are supposed to like cars, trucks, sports and other assorted manly stuff, but for my ninth birthday, all I wanted was a record player. Oh, sure, my father tried to introduce the joys of manhood to my little boy world, but it didn't take. Sports? No. Fishing? No. Hunting? Boy animals sure are cute! (We'll file that under a 'no')

I could sense my father's disappointment. His only son wasn't going to grow up to be any of the things he had failed to grow up to be. That is the point, isn't it? The father gets to live out his dreams through his son. Right?

Apparently not.

Ah, but I had a plan. Maybe, if I wasn't born with manly know-how... well... maybe I could learn it. Maybe I could learn how to not be me and instead be somebody else. These were my thoughts as I reached into my gym bag.

At the school library, I'd checked out a book about airplanes. It was filled with charts and graphs and pictures... all sorts of good stuff. Man stuff! "I bet after I read this book, I'll know how to build an airplane!" My thoughts quickly drifted from wondering how a nine year old would find makeshift engine parts to wondering if this particular nine year old gave a rats ass.

I knew what I had to do.

With a shrug, I closed the book and put it back in my gym bag. Since my parents hadn't seen it, they wouldn't be aware that another attempt at finding my manhood had failed.

. . . t o   b e   c o n t in u e d

::::: | Friday, Mar 02 2007 at 12:32 AM
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