I sat down for my usual evening visit with Facebook last night, and one of the first things I ran across was a post one of my friends had shared from some page called “Cold, Dead Hands.” I’ll leave off the comments, but here’s what the post looks like.
My first thought was panic. “Sh*t! I have no clue what that is!!” My second thought was, “I had better check my man card!”
My hands flew to my pants, which is where my man card is kept. Yep, still intact. Still, to be sure, I decided to ask my wife.
“Honey, can you take a look at this post?” I called from my home office.
A few minutes later, my wife of 34 years came in. “This says that if I don’t know what that’s a picture of, you have a girlfriend. And it says I should turn in my man card. What do you say?”
She leaned over my shoulder to take a better look. “Hell, I don’t know what that is, either. And no, you don’t have to turn in your man card. Your man card has always been in good shape and seems to work well for you.”
I felt a sense of relief. “My wife doesn’t think that knowing a part of a gun has anything to do with what makes you a man,” I thought. “Thanks, honey,” I said.
“It has been a little while,” she said with a gleam in her eye. “Maybe you had better come to the other room, and let me take a look at your man card, just to be sure.”
Who was I to argue?
How juvenile is it to claim that knowing gun parts equals being a man?
When I was about 13, just shortly before my father died, I asked him once about being a man. Before I tell you what he said, let me tell you a little about my father. He was 44 when I was born. I was what was called a “change of life baby” in those days. Both of my parents were young adults during the Great Depression. My father wasn’t a man who was filled with macho and bravado, but he liked doing “man things.” He liked to hunt. He liked to fish. He was a high school dropout who drove a truck for most of his life. We had a gun rack in the hallway of our small house that always held three hunting guns. But when I asked him about being a man, nothing to do with guns entered the conversation. My father said something like this:
Being a man means accepting responsibility. It means getting up, and going to work every day. It means doing a good job at whatever you choose to do with your life. Being a man means taking care of those who depend on you. It means being responsible for your family, and raising your children properly — teaching them to respect others and get along with them. It means treating people fairly, treating others as you would like them to treat you. Being a man means being a devoted and committed partner to the person you choose to marry. All of those things are what make you a man.
I know what he described is really a description of what everybody should do, but that conversation took place in 1972, and things were different then. I have never forgotten what my father told me.
As I look at that post from “Cold, Dead Hands,” I don’t know whether I feel more sorry for the person who posted it, or the people who “liked” and “shared” it.
I know who I am, and I know I don’t need a gun to be a man.[Image courtesy OfficialManCard.com]