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Before I write this week’s column, I must plead the Fifth Amendment.
By writing this very column this evening, I am admitting that I may be self-incriminating with my comments. I assure you, I will not be confessing to any crimes. I will not be baring my soul with any great revelations. I will not be confessing any sins, whether simple or mortal.
I am not under any sort of indictment or moral quandary. I am doing this not under duress, but of my own free will.
I can safely assume I have a few of you more than a little bit curious. I won’t keep you in suspense any longer and I will very clearly and concisely admit something I cannot deny. I fear that I have become the most reviled example of humanity, that, in the next few years, will be all but extinct.
I, folks, am a man.
I am a middle-aged man. I like action movies and beer. I like bacon, burgers and things that go boom. I own guns. I like fast and loud cars and a tear came to my eye a few weeks ago when Burt Reynolds died.
I annoy my wife with my procrastination and I annoy my daughters with an endless stream of dad jokes. I leave my towel on the bathroom floor and I can count the times my socks make it into the hamper on one hand.
I don’t ask for directions. I leave my coffee cup on the kitchen counter and I make a mess when I cook my own breakfast. I would rather be in my recliner than anywhere else in the world.
I am not the devil. I am not some Neanderthal who grunts and stomps and can’t function if I am not the alpha male.
I can appreciate a beautiful woman. For the record, I find a lot of women beautiful and you cannot assume that I find only Hooters girls and cheerleaders beautiful. There is beauty in age and there is beauty in wisdom.
I am not what you perceive I must be. I have never touched a woman inappropriately or without invitation. I have never drunkenly groped a stranger while harboring ill intentions. I am a faithful husband and a loving father to two beautiful daughters.
I like beer and the occasional drink. I am not an alcoholic. I keep a liquor cabinet in my home and I have beer in my refrigerator. I have been known to have a drink in a restaurant. This past weekend, I had two. My wife was driving, so there was no issue. We had dinner in a restaurant and I had two drinks with dinner and rode home in the passenger seat of the car.
Why am I writing all this, you ask? After the events of the last few weeks, it’s been made plainly clear that us men need to justify everything we do.
Suddenly, all men, even the anonymous everyman such as myself, have found ourselves under a proverbial microscope because of the alleged actions of a man who is a stranger to most, if not all of us. We have suffered an onslaught of media reports about one man, all the while realizing that the fingers are not only pointed at him, but at all of us.
Three weeks ago, we were Dad. Three weeks ago, we were the guy mowing the lawn. Three weeks ago, we were faceless and nameless. Today, everyone looks at us as if we are lions looking down on lambs.
It’s been a little stressful, to say the least. I have dialed back my social media presence, not because I have anything to hide, but I am tired of reading all the anger and hate. I wish to go back to seeing pictures of my friends’ kids and vacations. I’m growing weary of the political posturing from friends on both sides of the aisle and, quite frankly, my head hurts.
This is normally a humor column. OK, it’s supposed to be a humor column. Some of the jokes are a little stale or corny, but I do my best. This week, it wasn’t so funny. I’m sorry for that. I promise it will be back to being light next week.
Allow me this final thought, however. A few weeks or months ago, we didn’t seem so angry. There was a little bit of joy and happiness out there, more than enough to go around. I’m willing to bet there still is if everyone took a big deep breath and exhaled at the same time. Maybe that way, we’ll get rid of a lot of that hot air.
Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.