I envy my wife. When we go for walks with other couples she usually goes next to the woman, and I usually get stuck with the man. While they get to talk about how they are feeling and how life is going, I get to hear exhilarating updates on garage renovations. From garage talk they move to the latest Harley-Davidson model, followed by an analysis of why the Marlins are still an awful team. If I get a lucky break my male companion will ask me how I am doing, but I quickly learned that they have no interest whatsoever in the answer.
Male Friend: How are you doing?
Isaac: Well, as of late…
Male Friend (interrupting me of course): Great! Have you been to Home Depot lately? Toilet paper is on sale.
I have an adorable and wonderful friend that all he can talk about is the state of his roof and the brake pads on his car. We used to go for walks together and he’d pick up old newspapers from the floor in case there were coupons for Home Depot.
The one emotion that men often express is anger. They are so detached from their feelings that, when something doesn’t go their way, frustration turns quickly into aggression. Their inability to process the mildest threat leads them to a complete meltdown. I know a specimen that when the world doesn’t behave according to his whim he goes into a predictable pattern: (a) regression to prenatal stage, (b) nonsensical verbiage, (c) self-pity, (d) pouting, (e) abusive language, (f) threat of retaliation, (g) rant about lack of justice in the world.
Next to anger, control and domination are pretty common expressions of the male species, not to mention sexual supremacy. We are not talking here about subtle control and flirtation, but Rambo style brutality. These might have been useful in the African Savanna; but somebody forgot to tell them that most of us are no longer running away from packs of Tyrannosaurs.
Despite the fact that most of us are no longer running away from Tyrannosaurs, most of us still worry about a lot of stuff. In my dreams, I have some recurring fears:
To cope with my fears, I obsessively plan (all my life insurance policies are on automatic debit). It usually works, but I still have some primal fears of public shame, as in numbers 2 and 3 above. I thought of getting degrees in nuclear physics, Chinese and organic chemistry, but I rather write silly stories. To prevent the humiliation of number 2 I always leave home with my clothes on. Not only that, but I also take a change of clothes.
Number 7 above presents a unique challenge. I worry a lot about my family. This one is not hard to decipher. I lost my parents when I was 8 years old (no joke). Both died in a car accident. It doesn’t take a psychoanalyst to figure out I worry about death, my own, and others. Ora, my wife, uses a wheelchair and she has a hard time getting up from bed, which is when I come in. The other night I woke up thinking that if I die in the middle of the night of a heart attack she might not be able to get up the next day, and she would die from starvation; our son would become an orphan, and it is all MY FAULT, and I’m not even alive to feel guilty. Which is why I have never seen a life insurance policy I did not like.