Saturday, March 3, 2012

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

I remember my 9th grade World History teacher, Mr. Hathaway, talking about whatever period in history (probably most of them) when the majority of people were unwashed and how everybody stunk to high heaven. He said, repeatedly and very loud, "If everybody smells, nobody smells!" Because, y'know, when the stench is just the stench and it's shared by everyone then it's not a stench anymore, it's just air.

Therefore, I submit that in the days of Everybody Gets a Trophy! what that really means is Nobody Gets a Trophy. When you take away the concept of Lose, you take away what it means to Win. When you take away the meaning of winning, you end up with assholes like Charlie Sheen.

How the hell did we get here?  I mean, I learned growing up, "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." and "Do or do not, there is not try."  and stuff like that.

I want my boys to grow up with that mentality rather than embracing their inner Medium. (Medium as opposed to Small or Large, not like the psychic thing...the psychic thing would be superb)  I want them to be kick ass men who take charge, names, ownership, pride and all those other things that are meant to be taken. Those things are not meant to be handed over like trophies at a pee wee soccer party.

So, this place in history is confusing to me. We've probably been here before. It probably ended very badly. But I don't remember the "everybody gets a trophy" era from history class. Whatever happened right before the French Revolution might have been similar but I don't remember for sure.

I'm reminded of this because last night we had a family night. The X took the boys and me out to dinner and a movie. Our movie choices were either The Lorax or Act of Valor which might seem like weird movie options to some, but with tweenage boys it could really go either direction. I leaned more toward Act of Valor. (It's made with real SEALS... so you know it's good.)

We ended up at Act of Valor. yay. Okay, this movie is going to get terrible reviews simply because it's made with real SEALS, and real SEALS can't act for shit. I thought the bad acting was endearing. And all the exploding stuff made it completely awesome. If you see it, my favorite scene was the interrogation on the boat even though it didn't have any explosions. I liked the mindfuck aspect of it. don't act all surprised.

Anyway, there was a voiceover narrative throughout the movie and that's what I liked most of all. The voiceover will get hammered by the critics most of all but whatever; the message was one that I think is important. It was talking about men being men. Like old school, John Wayne, brimming with testosterone and suppressing their emotions and redirecting them instead into pure energy against whatever enemy they come up against next kinda men. Despite the obvious potential to get carried away in the wrong direction with that kind of energy...I think it's basically a great idea. That'll make sense in a minute. Bear with me.

So part of the narrative was a letter to one of the character's kids. (Spoiler alert: not everyone makes it out alive) Google didn't help me find the whole narrative script, but I did find part of the letter. It doesn't hit all the points about men being men that I thought were interesting, but it does touch on some stuff.  Women can find it useful too; I'm sure I'll be inspired in some way because of this.

  1. So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
  2. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and
  3. Demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life,
  4. Beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and
  5. Its purpose in the service of your people.
  6. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
  7. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
  8. Even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and
  9. Bow to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and
  10. For the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks,
  11. The fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing,
  12. For abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
  13. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts
  14. Are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes
  15. They weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again
  16. In a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

Critics can bash all they want, but the mention of begging for a chance to live your life a different way hits home. The directive to live with a sense of pride in yourself and respect for others makes sense to me. It's challenging yourself against settling for the Medium in the moment. It makes you dare yourself toward greatness I think. I love that. I need reminding of that all the time.

Mentioned earlier in the narrative and not in that excerpted letter part was the idea of men suppressing emotions and channeling them into other pursuits.  Rather than gushing out all their feelings all over everybody, men really need to get back into that. That kind of mentality inspired progress, art, commerce...and yeah, wars and stuff too...but yin/yang. Heaven/Hell. Just acknowledge the fact that light and darkness depend on each other.

These days men sit around and talk it out and nothing gets DONE. It fucking sucks. I don't want to raise a couple of men contributing to this epidemic.

I want the boys to be overwhelmed enough by inner turmoil they create a masterpiece in their passion of choice. I want them to lose. I want them to fall. Because when you fall, you learn how not to fall. I want them to discover a passion so immense, they keep at it until they get it right.

When they get it right, they'll have earned that sense of pride. It will belong to them alone. Not every other snowflake on the soccer field.


Anonymous said...

I love your blog, you are so no-nonsense, I mean no offense - just wondering. In this post you mention going to dinner and a movie with your ex and the kids. Do you find it weird, keeping in such close contact with your ex (and his family)? I thought the whole point of divorcing someone was so that you didn't really have to be around them any more - I'm sure I don't know the whole story - and I think it's great he takes his kids out - but do you find it weird to go with them? Is it hard to let go of the relationship (and maybe start a new one) if you are still seeing your ex? Just wondering.

Silver said...

Thank you, and trust me, I take no offense. It's a fair question. My relationship with the X and the outlaws is complicated. Bizarre and fucked up are also good descriptors.

The X has advanced cirrhosis and I want the kids to have as much quality time with him as they can while he's still around. And it's important to me that they see us getting along rather than not. We don't always spend time like that together. It's very sporadic actually. And there is no romantic aspect whatsoever. I cannot stress that enough.

It hasn't hindered my finding a new relationship with someone else as much as my not leaving the house a lot has. I am perfectly willing to start something new. It's just a matter of meeting a man who can keep up with (and isn't terrified of) my sense of humor. A rare and elusive find.

Hope that clears things up a little? Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Silver - it does clear things up - not that it was any of my business anyway. The fact that your kids see you getting along means a LOT -and they will not forget it long into their adulthood. I am in a similar situation sort of, also B and FU - like you said (LOL) - and am not handling it nearly as well. Thanks for the honest answer and for taking my comment in the spirit intended, which is NOT critical, just curious.

Silver said...

We've been split for almost 9 years now and we didn't start out nearly so amicable. It has been nightmarish at times. Just a matter of finding the groove I guess. This works for now, but it's still a really tricky thing.

Hokie said...

Hi Silver, it's your old friend from GKR. been awhile since I have last seen or spoken to you. Wow, I haven't kept up with Silver Thinks for awhile but wanted to check in on your life. Does that make me creepy? I hope not! Anyway, since I have been around since inception I just wanted to let you know it is better than ever. Your writing is even more creative and thought provoking than when you first started. I love it. Don't take that the wrong way because I loved it when you first started too. I didn't know we both had a "dirty" secret of being Big Brother fans or possibly I forgot. I think you would be fantastic and would have a great shot of being casted on the show. I know, I know I am rambling on.....keep up the great writing gives me a good laugh and makes me think too. We all need that every now and then.....Take Care!!

Silver said...

Thanks for the writing praise, Hokie! and the nod of approval for BB. I think I'll regret it if I don't send in an audition video.

You're not being creepy...I don't think...since you don't fall into the zombie category to which I was referring. So you might actually be a good person to help figure out this phenomenon. Like Tyler Durden is busy splicing movie reels or something. 'sweird.

(Glad you finally picked a name besides Anonymous)

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