In The Beginning

The strange days, as my wife calls my life currently, started some four years ago. Being on the precipice of 30 and not having much to show for my life I was suffering from a serious case of insomnia. after several nights of drifting in and out of consciousness I got into the practice of watching late night TV shows with the volume off while doing the voice overs myself. I know this was an inane activity for a moderately educated man such as myself to engage in and i owned that inanity. I could have picked up a good book or studied the business section in the recent paper or read about the latest politician to be embroiled in a sex tape scandal but I did not and could not. To the uninitiated, when you suffer from insomnia you’re not asleep and you’re not awake either. Your brain is too busy trying to separate the real from the imagined and is performing with dismal efficiency at that, so really logical thinking is far too much to ask for. One particular night after giving George Bush and his wife the Mickey and Minnie Mouse voice-over treatments during some press event, I started surfing through channels. I came across a documentary about the great continent of Africa on one of the Discovery or National Geographic channels. As is synonymous with such “award winning” coverage about Africa, I was bombarded with visuals of child soldiers, starving livestock and raggedy dressed emaciated women walking ridiculous distances just to get water, food or their children immunized. It is Africa After all, right? The next scene jumped to a smartly dressed bespectacled Caucasian man in a navy blue dinner jacket. He had a graph behind him with different continents depicted by different colored lines. For some reason the African line was lower and darker than all the others. The man had an intense look about him as if he was trying to convey some inner truth or deep observation. My curiosity was tickled so I turned up the volume.  i was just in time to hear him say “…..and according to the U.S. Census Bureau-International Database, The CIA World Fact book and UC Atlas of Global Inequality, The average life expectancy in Africa is pegged at between 40 to 45 years. This means that I at 50 years of age would be considered the oldest man in an average African village setting. As Africa looks to the future is it plausible with such a low life expectancy to………” I switched the volume off in mid-sentence as my attention was directed to trying to figure out if the silhouette of Idi Amin that had just appeared on my ceiling was real or just another figment of my imagination. Though i felt that little “African village setting” Quip of his was tasteless I started thinking bout what the man in the box said. 45 years, I was turning 30 in the few months that followed which meant I had 15 years to go? If this was a journey in the “African setting” a man would have taken 45 steps to reach his destination, I had taken 30, 30 steps to 30 years. 30 paces towards the vast beyond with 15 left. Of course these statistics were in no way a hard and fast rule or strictly accurate but they did serve as a sharp reality check. I decided to take stock of what had gained through my travels? I asked myself what experience I had acquired and could I unequivocally say in my 30 paces of this journey I had earned the title of being called “A Man”? Biologically yes without a doubt. But there were, and more so now, so many definitions, prerequisites, classifications, modifications and amendments to this what a man really is, regarding masculinity, that have been thrown into the fray by both feminists and chauvanists. How many of these have I satisfied? That night, with the silhouette of something between Idi Amin or Oprah Winfrey plastered on my ceiling is when the observations and commentary started. I felt I had to sift through all the information and sensory assault I was under through visual and print media and conversations and see where I stood personally and in relation to my world. Unfortunately (well, for her anyway) the only person who tolerated my ramblings with very little violence was my then fiancé. She would engage me in debate and we would have long discussions about whatever topic that would get my juices flowing that day. All was well until a few days ago when she finally decided that the world deserved to share in my healthy doses of insanity. She suggested that I invest in a blog  and put my thoughts into words. So here I am today. Maybe some one out there might read these and have answers or comments about my questions and observations. Or just be safe in the knowledge that they can never be as screwed up as I am. Either way I believe I would have contributed to humanity in some way. so lets dance people. Keep Healthy