Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll is not coming out with the declaration: I’M A MAN! She is quoting Mr. AG. She writes:

Mr. AG and I take a multi-vitamin every day. Never one to miss a marketing opportunity, Centrum makes more or less-identical vitamins labeled “Women,” “Men,” and the one I take for Geezer-Americans labeled Adults Fifty-Plus called Centrum Silver. As I was shaking my vitamin out of the bottle, offering one to Mr. AG, he said something both hilarious and with a kernel of truth: “No, not that one. I’m not an ‘Adult’; I’m a ‘Man’!”

I learned that it IS possible to pass Cheerios through your nose! Even with blueberries.

Now, beloved gentlemen fans of my writing, I defy you to find a single anti-male sentence in any of my columns. There are over 160 of them in the Archives. We’ll wait…

I love and adore men, specifically the ones in my life – husband, son, step-grandson, nephews, brother, dear friends, my Papa – but even generally, I think the male sex is one of two equally splendid and complementary ones. But, as Larry the Cable Guy would say, “Come ON,THAT’S funny, I don’t care who you are!”

And I think that there is something wonderfully “non-adult” about a lot of men’s activities. In fact, I think one of the reasons that women are sometimes critical of these activities is that they are jealous of the irrationally exuberant fun men have.

So what men’s activities do I think are less than adult? Well, very few women will go topless in groups to sporting events in freezing weather with their faces painted in team colors and supportive messages spelled out collectively on their chests. Though this would not be unwelcome in many circles. And it would certainly bring beloved Cubs sports announcer Harry Carey back from the dead to comment appreciatively. Harry and his cameraman could find scantily clad female fans in the bleachers like heat-seeking missiles. Harry loved summer.

You will find very few women making up pretend sports teams and obsessively checking their cellphones during a nice Golden Anniversary dinner to see if their Pretend Pitcher blew a Save or their Pretend Second Baseman has an oblique injury and is on the DL.

In the Fantasy League that Mr. AG and our son have belonged to for a couple of decades, there is one owner team made up of two women, one of whom is actually a sitting judge in the state of Minnesota, which should give you pause. But these highly intelligent women choose their players based strictly on who has – dare I say it in a family blog? – cute butts! Oh, for “sexist”! If they run for office, weepy traumatized men will have to knit pink “butt hats” to protest. Their Fantasy League record is not wonderful, but they really have fun screening and assessing prospective players for their team.

Not to brag, but we actually do count as a friend a REAL owner of an ACTUAL major league baseball team! Mike, should you decide to emphasize guys with cute butts in assembling your roster next year in order to attract more lady fans, possibly including your wife, I would selflessly offer to help select them. Haha. I kid, of course. Kidding is what I do. (But, seriously, call me.)

I also love the fiercely competitive streak in almost all men. An orthopaedic surgeon told a friend of mine that he could make a living solely on cutthroat family picnic volleyball games. For forty years now the people who would lose every fair competition have tried to drive that streak into oblivion: the participation trophies, the failure to keep score in Little League or soccer, the emphasis on “group” projects and “cooperation” rather than individual effort and competition, banning valedictorians, colleges with no grades. The dreary list goes on and on.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Cooperation in many circumstances is a great and necessary thing. (CNN news crawl: “H8TR Ammo Grrrll Against Cooperation!”): bucket brigades, quilting bees, research projects, surgery theaters. But in almost every group project I have been involved in there have been the doers and the slackers. When I had a partner in Biology, I was definitely the slacker, gagging at the smell of formaldehyde and none too thrilled with the innards of a frog either. Thank you, Judy, for getting me through! We were “partners” and she did all the work. We both got an “A.”

Anyway, one of my most vivid experiences with men’s competitive nature involved lawyers. (There’s a surprise!) Many years ago, in a galaxy far far away, Mr. AG was an associate in a very big deal law firm in the Twin Cities. This law firm organized a Retreat to try to get their guys and gals to relax for a weekend. In order to drag them away from their offices – this was so long ago that everyone wasn’t yet permanently connected to a virtual office via electronics – they had to shanghai them to a resort hundreds of miles north of the Twin Cities lest they sneak back down overnight and work.

But in order that they not implode from toxic testosterone buildup (even the women) or pent-up adrenaline, they organized a whole series of athletic competitions – volleyball, golf, of course, and softball. And what happened? It rained, Noah-style, for two solid days. The water in the parking lot was up to my knees, although that isn’t saying a lot. And – on their own – the fellas organized a killer afternoon of what I called MMA Full-Contact Charades. It’s a miracle no one died. I’ve never had more fun in my life. Lacking entirely in the normal fear of looking like an idiot, I happen to be a whiz at Charades.


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