Tag Archives: Fable

What Am I Thinking Now?

Men are not morons. Women are not ineffable*.

Yet every single day, we’re all of us in America and — possibly — elsewhere bombarded with cliché after cliché that says otherwise. We hear that men can’t think their way out of a wet paper bag. We hear that women will forever be unknowable to a dude, that he will never actually understand why she does what she does.

It’s demonstrably not true and, yet, we let this prevarication continue ad infinitum.

Why? Why do we allow this? I think it’s because we’ve all run into someone who won’t bust the cliché. Some dude who really is a moron. Some woman who really does operate on a plane above the rest of us. Then we shrug and tell ourselves that the old cliché must be true and here’s the proof.

Really, though, I think those instances are not proof of the majority, but instances of a rarity.

The confusion and condescension occur not because of what we are, but what we say.

The problem is that we dudes won’t talk openly to you dudettes. And you dudettes won’t talk openly about your motivations to we men.

We all are expected to be mind readers. The problem is that telepathy doesn’t actually exist. We can’t read minds.

If men would explain that they, for instance, forgot their anniversary not because they were a moron, but because they were worried about whether they would miss out on the good office chairs and what that meant for their careers. They’d still be in trouble, mind you, but not because they were idiots.

The first woman who steps up and explains exactly why it’s important to her that when she goes to pick out furniture, she not only wants the man in her life to accompany her, but she wants him to want to go as well and if he doesn’t. . . Well, it’s going to be a long day. Explain that thinking and you’d be a national hero to at least slightly less than half the population of this country.

And, dudes, believe it or not, it’s even worse on the romance front.

Zig when she wants you to zag and you’re a moron. She’s angry because you just don’t understand her.

Again, it’s all down to communication. Actually talk out loud and tell your partner what you really want. Don’t hint. Don’t expect him or her to know it and be angry if she/he doesn’t? It can be as simple as that: Ask for what you want. You might not get it, but it’s better to understand desire and taste, than it is to wonder what went wrong.

Open lines of communication allow significant others to actually see what the other person wants, try to fit it in with what they want, and see if there is any way that the two (or however many) of you can get at least part of what you want.

Step out of the stereotype. Talk to each other and you’ll be amazed how good life can be.

Or you’ll find out you can’t stand one another, but then you at least you know it’s time to move on and start over, and that can’t be a bad thing.

 

*look it up.

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Just How Old Does He Think We Really Are?

So, there I was sitting in a classroom full of third graders at Awesome Elementary School.

Now, this classroom is run by an appallingly good teacher. I say appallingly because watching her in action makes me realize how very far I have to go if I even want to be considered in the same solar system with her.

Anyway, self-loathing aside done.

She was in the process of reading to the class a wonderful updating of the gingerbread man (“Run, run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!” Yeah, that one. ) fable written and drawn by Jan Brett. The book is called Gingerbread Baby and it’s absolutely wonderful.

Gingerbread-Baby-Book-Cover

The book is beautifully painted, with intricate drawings showcasing fully realized characters in a charmingly rustic setting.

If it wasn’t being read to a class full of students who would have pounded me if I did what I wanted, I would have snatched that book away from the teacher and simply lingered over each sumptuous page.

Just lovely stuff.

Anyway, back to the setting.

It’s obvious from looking at the story that it takes place in the past. The house is located up in the mountains during winter and there is no one else around. It looks like  a sort of alpine farm. The house is obviously a log cabin of sorts and the clothing looks like it came from at least early in the last century, possibly the century before that.

So the teacher asked her class about that setting, knowing that it was set far in the past and figuring that she would get an answer similar to what she was expecting. Her expectations were only moving toward confirmation when she called on a whip-smart young dude named, for our purposes, Raul.

“It was done a long time ago,” Raul said.

“That’s right, Raul. So what–”

“A long time ago, probably in the 1980s or maybe even the 1970s.”

I’m just glad I wasn’t drinking my carbonated caffeinated beverage of choice at the time or I would have spit it all over the classroom.

The teacher, who is much, much younger than I am, still got a good laugh out of it.

We’d forgotten, you see, that time, to a young dude like that, is a very personal thing. If something happened in the past, then, to him, it’s the past of which he can conceive. To him, 40 years ago, is a very long time, indeed.

Even though I slunk out of the classroom a bit chastened, at least I learned something good: Jan Brett made a wonderful book that I will purchase for my own library.

Now if I can just find young dudes or dudettes who will sit still long enough for me to read it to them.

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More Than A Rooster

by Richard

So, Zippy the Monkey Boy and I roll up into the bustling metropolis of Conway, SC, and the first thing that comes to my mind is to roll down the windows and listen for the sound of dueling banjos. ‘Cause, dude, if I hear the first string pluck, I was so far gone out of there they wouldn’t even know we’d been there.

Fortunately for us, the hard-pounding, deep, throbbing (you know, I might have been away from home and the loving comfort of the arms of She Who Must Be Hugged for a bit too long) bass line coming from the car’s speakers drowned out any unelectric stringed instruments.

The hotel I’d picked on the internet was located off the side of the, and I used this word advisedly, highway all by itself. I mean, it was the Bates Motel done in post-modern Soviet bloc architecture. Still, the room was air conditioned and relatively clean. Good news.

Now here’s where I talk about how dumb I can be. I’d looked up Coastal Carolina University and knew it was relatively near the beach and located in Conway. What I didn’t do was to look about 15 miles east. Turns out, the university is right next to Myrtle Beach. Motto: Just like Daytona, only smaller and with fewer redeeming values. Still, Zippy the Monkey Boy and I did have a good time wandering around and seeing what was what. But more on that later. It’s long past time to talk about the tour.

To start with, the campus is small. Beautiful, but small. Which was not a bad thing. With only 8,000 or so students, it was a good size. Zippy was immediately taken with the scenery, the buildings and the fact that the university actually owned it’s very own barrier island set aside purely for marine science research for the students. Now that got him excited.

I was excited as well, but mostly because I’d just hit the part in the CCU brochure that talked about how much it cost to send an out-of-state little dude there for school. It’s, well, it’s a bit of a shock. Still, I did like that they showed some extensive work on possible scholarships offered there. These merit scholarships are given automatically to kids who are accepted and meet certain marks on the SAT, GPA and other abbreviations and suchlike. Something to shoot for.

What impressed me most, however, was the size of the dorm rooms. Those things had 10-foot ceilings and three beds inside each two-person room. I know. I was depressed at first, as well. I figured they were going to be stuffing three dudes in a two-dude room. Turns out, they offer the extra bed as a (and, no, I’m not making this up) guest bed. Just in case. The students can send them back and get an extra desk if they want.

Our tour guide this time out was fantastic. She was erudite, engaging and did a great job of communicating the enthusiasm she felt for the school.

All in all, it was a great visit and leaves Coastal Carolina University high up on Zippy the Monkey Boy’s list of schools he’d like to attend. We also learned something new. Coastal Carolina University’s mascot is the Chanticleer. The thing looked like a rooster, but Chanticleer? Never heard of it. So we looked it up. Turns out Chanticleer was a rooster, known from certain fables, mostly those surrounding Reynard the Fox (a Germanic and French folkloric trickster).

And now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

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