The Man Card: Self Evaluation

            The infamous Man Card. A card given to men to keep in their wallet to prove that they are real men. When a man violates the unspoken rules of being a man, their manly friends have the right to ask for the card to revoke the man’s manliness for a time; a grounding of their manhood; a punishment for their crimes against all men. Though the card is hypothetical, ask any real man and he will tell you that it certainly exists. I consider myself a real man. But, in order for me to call myself a real man, to proudly carry my card in my wallet, I have to conduct a self evaluation to determine if I can call myself a man based on three primary criteria: possessions, sports, and annoying habits. 

            The first criterion to be a man is having excessive possessions. A real man must own a truck that is capable of going anywhere, on or off road. A real man must own guns, as many as he can get, big guns, little guns, anything that makes a bang. A real man must also own a lot of technological gadgets that either are more powerful than needed or they are expensive and useless but awesome toys.

            With a 2007 Silver Toyota Tacoma, I meet the truck requirement. The Tacoma, though not a full sized truck, is a leader in the off road community. It is not quite to the standard that I would like, but all the aftermarket accessories are in my online shopping cart just waiting for me to press the buy button. Even though my truck is not to its super high performance state yet, it is capable of going to the top of the mountains around Pocatello, Idaho and it has!

            When it comes to the gun requirement, I have to blur the lines a little. I am ashamed that I have to admit to not owning any guns. However, I can compensate with my experience using guns. I have shot more rifles than I can count. I have fired multiple fully-automatic machine guns from small calibers to big calibers. I have fired shoulder-fired rockets, thrown hand grenades, and set off claymore landmines. I have shot pistols, black powder rifles, tank guns, paintball guns, and even BB guns. With all this experience I am still planning on buying a rifle or two in the near future.

            When it comes to gadgets and gizmos, I’ve got plenty. My notebook computer is a high powered data processing machine capable of calculating anything that I throw at it, and I am looking at upgrading at the beginning of the year. After all, there will be new games that require an even more powerful machine. Along with my computer comes my cell phone, a pocket device that can call my friends, and play music, videos, and games. My cell phone is also my alarm clock and appointment calendar. It can access the internet and GPS. Any questions on what my cell phone can do? I just get online to look up all the applications.

            After the excessive possessions, the next criterion is sports. What man does not love sports? There are three forms of sports and each man must meet at least two of the three. There is a more traditional approach of team sports such as basketball, football, or baseball. Second is the extreme sports approach of dirt biking, rock climbing, surfing, or the many others. Third is the outdoors. This is where the truck that can go anywhere comes in handy. The outdoors include such activities as fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, or just plan sitting outdoors and enjoy being dirty. There is nothing better than being twenty miles from the nearest form of civilization, floating on a lake with your fishing pole, and no nagging wife!

            When it comes to sports a real man has one or more that he thinks he’s an expert in and could have gone professional if not for a bad knee. For myself, I am an expert in extreme sports. Paintballing and skydiving, something to get the adrenaline pumping! Jumping from a perfectly good airplane or the whiz of a paintball flying past my face at 300 feet-per-second while I’m jumping behind a bunker is a great way to ensure my heart is still functioning. But that bad knee of mine keeps me stuck working at my dead-end job.

            My second sport is the wonderful world of the outdoors. When it comes to fishing, hiking, and camping, I live the letter of the law. I became a real man on the day that I realized fishing was the best thing since sliced bread. I use to think that there was no way I would enjoy sitting all day with a pole in my hands waiting for a fish to bite my hook. Then my brother-in-law took me bass fishing. We got float tubes, waders, poles, and tackle, went to a lake east of Malad and floated for five hours on a lake. The peace and quiet was incredible. Add the benefit of catching a couple of bass fish and that makes for a superb day! 

            No real man will admit to the third criterion, but it is one of the most important criteria to being a real man. This category is expertise in annoying the opposite sex. Many men have perfected annoying habits, the inability to care for children, the inability to express their feelings, the ability to conveniently forget, and making the expression “stubborn as a brick wall” seem soft.

            There are three annoying habits on the back of the man card that must be checked off throughout any duration of living with the opposite sex. How is it that men can find the perfect way to answer a question with a belch or fart? I have been an offender of this crime. Another annoying habit is leaving the toilet seat up just before going to bed. In the morning, my wife confronted me saying she fell in the toilet bowl for the umpteenth time and instead of being an adult about the matter, I respond with a fart and laughed. Of course I was not only kicked out of the bed but also the couch and forced to sleep in the garage that night. My wife thinks I learned my lesson. Another annoying habit is drinking from the milk carton. Why dirty a cup that will only require washing later? I will not backwash that is just gross!

            It is never okay for a real man to complain, unless he is complaining about changing a dirty diaper and then it is the end of the world. No real man should be subjected to changing a dirty diaper! It is an outrage for a man to be submitted to such torture! When it comes to a child needing comfort, it is not to dad they run. Dad either ignores them or slaps them on the back telling them they are okay and sends them on their way. No comfort from me for my children, the pain will go away when it stops hurting!

            Men are experts on feelings. It is true. Ask them how they are doing and you will get a direct answer every time, “Fine.” I have been a culprit of this as well. Expressing feelings is just for sissies and women. I am too strong to be sympathetic and sappy! You want mushy, watch The Notebook. You want a man? Do not expect feelings.

            Men might not be able to express their feeling, but you can always count on him to try to fix every little problem you have, even if you are just venting. I have been known to offer solution after solution to my wife only to have her get frustrated and say, “You don’t understand, I don’t want a solution. I just want you to listen!”

            Men are really good at forgetting everything important. That is one way we use to bypass expressing our feelings. If we remembered Valentine’s Day, we would have to express love sentiments. With so many birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays in a year, how can you expect a man to remember them all when he cannot recall what he had for dinner the night before? It is innate for men to forget everything, from unimportant to important. That way every day is a brand new experience full of wonder and excitement. I look forward to each day knowing that it will be a new experience.

            The last trait of a real man is by far the most important. When a real man gets his mind set on something, there is no changing it. If you want your man to change his mind you had better start reading up on Sun Tzu’s Art of War because it will be a long campaign. I whole heartedly admit to be being “stubborn as a whole team of oxen,” as my wife says! I think it is a good trait. If men were not stubborn, we would all be expressing our feelings and putting the toilet seat down!

            When it comes to issuing the man card, the real man has to meet several criteria. I have my man card in my wallet. I am proud to carry my card! I will die before giving up my man card! I have my possessions, I love my sports, and I have found many ways to annoy my wife! I am a real man. Next time you are with a man, ask to see his card, and you will know that he lives by the unspoken rule of the Real Man.

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