Posts Tagged ‘male’

Wooden Skateboard

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
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July 4th, 2010

You’re not smiling. Probably because you’re out of quarters for video games or maybe because it’s really hot.

It’s the summertime heat that drove all three of you to the grassy shade near the Zoom Flume that day at King’s Island. Your sister’s friend Caroline, with her dark skin and dark humor that always makes you belly-laugh. Your sister Kathy, back when people said she looked like Sheena Easton. Back when people knew who Sheena Easton was.

And you.

I’m guessing you were fifteen at that point, give or take a few hormones. 1981. Those glasses – the big plastic frames that broke when you fell off the front of the skateboard and Dad “fixed them just fine, goddamn it” with superglue. Remember that skateboard from fifth grade?

All the guys at Saint Michael’s had one, so you asked and begged for one – even though Mom and Dad had two mortgages and money was so tight. But your birthday was coming, so Mom took you to Wayne Drugs, which had items like sport equipment and five-year diaries under one roof. You studied the skateboard display: hard-plastic skateboards – in flashy colors with a lip on the back to ‘pop a wheelie’ and do the stunts that were not yet a fad. Next to them, sturdy, wooden skateboards – with red racing stripes and resin wheels, guaranteed to sail across the pavement.

Your friend Chuckie had a wooden skateboard. He acted so cool riding around the parking lot behind school, so you picked one just like his and you could hardly wait to tell him the next day that you would be getting a skateboard for your birthday.

But – the next day – when you got to the playground and told of your proud, soon-to-be-part-of-the-skateboard-crowd status, Chuckie squinched his face tight and said, “You coulda got a plastic skateboard and you picked a wooden one?”

# # #

At forty-four, I think of you often. I get caught up in the glorification of then and the denegration of now. Life now seems complex and difficult. Your life at fifteen, through the murky channels of memory, seems graced, and lucky, and full of promise. In my mind, I look back and envy your full hair, your slim hips tucked neatly inside white painter’s pants – your certainty that life holds something grand just for you, waiting to be awarded in a fantastic ceremony of lights and applause.

But I look at this photo and I think about your wooden skateboard.

                       

For fun, I post my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.

Male Mid-Life Sucks

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
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June 16th, 2010

There. I’ve said it.

I know it seems ungrateful and politically incorrect and I’m not the type of person who looks at the glass as half-empty. But in my mid forties, being a guy is starting to get to me.

What I learned from watching Lifetime Television for Women in the eighties and nineties was that middle-aged men were parodied in sitcoms and advertisements — everywhere in our culture. They were balding, a little overweight, a little insecure. They had to buy a sportscar (preferably red) and flash it in front of women too young for them. They turned their secretaries into mistresses and made an embarrassing shambles of their longtime relationships. Growing up, I learned mid-life men were a mess.

Flash forward. In 2010 I hear that thirty is the new twenty, and forty is the new thirty, blah blah blah. That’s okay for Sex and the City; for people who can afford to live the flash and set the rules. I’m not like that. I am a part-time writer in Western NY in my mid forties. My parents have passed away. I AM the next generation. And I need help.

I need help understanding the changes in my body; the swings in my mood; the bleakness of my passions.

Take one example. Nose hair. It’s something you really don’t think about. EVER. I know I never did. Now it’s an almost daily annoyance. It grows in droves, tickling the exterior edges of my nose over and over (and over). I trim it. It tickles the inside of my nose. I yank it out. My eyes tear.

I long for some male guidance. Audible wisdom in the presence of a silent God. Maybe from somebody like Fred Rogers. AFTER he takes off the sweater…hanging out backstage, just him and me, talking man-to-man. In my fantasy, we talk, we laugh, we have a beer…and somehow, over a period of days and weeks of our talking, it all becomes bearable. The voluminous nose hair, the bare scalp, the paunchy midriff, and all the rest of the stuff that only he and I can talk about over that beer.

Because the beer encourages us to show our fear and courage beneath the bravado; because the beer makes us honest and thoughtful; because, somehow through the homophobic haze of this culture, the beer teaches us that men need men.

                       

For fun, I post my stuff at www.gregorygerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at
www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.

The Pink Review

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

February 22nd, 2010

So I’m on a work meeting phone conference the other day and one of the guys says that we need a dry run of our presentation. Or, as he says it’s called, a ‘pink review.’

But then he goes on to say that ‘I wish they didn’t call it the pink review. Ya know, couldn’t it just be another color?’

I chuckled, and the other team member chuckled…but I thought about it a little more later in the day and I felt a little sad.

Am I being too sensitive? The implication was obvious…that my teammate didn’t want to participate in a review called a ‘pink review’ because the name was too effeminate.

It’s tough to get a strong take on this. I respect that men in the corporate world don’t want to be perceived as effeminate. But I can’t help but realize that there’s an implication for the other side of the coin…that a pink review is something that’s reserved for homosexual men. And that being homosexual is less than desired.

Again, I may be reading too much into this. My colleagues are good guys. I don’t think they meant any harm with these comments. And I chuckled along with them. But a part of me still feels a little sad. Sad for the next generation of gay kids who hear these messages…and think less of themselves as a result.

They don’t deserve to feel anything but equal.

For fun, I post my stuff at www.gregorygerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at
www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.