Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Sitting Bull

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When an old wooden chair collapses underneath you as you sit down at the computer, which course of action do you choose?

A. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and pulverize the insolent piece of ex-furniture with your bare hands.
B. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, wince a bit at the shock and try to put the chair back together again.
C. Wallow in surprise and pain for a full minute or two, then try to put the chair back together again.
D. Give up and go fishing or snorkeling or dwarf tossing or something.

If you are male, as I (checks one last time) am, chances are you did not choose option D. If you are female, chances are you chose none of the above, despite that option’s complete absence from the list. Because the female, wired differently from us males (in case you hadn’t noticed), will not view the collapse as a challenge to overcome so much as an annoyance to avoid. She will defuse the tension inherent in human vs. inanimate object by simply Not Playing That Game.

The male who chose A, however, will perceive the chair’s collapse as nothing less than an affront to his control over his environment, and the typical male interprets that absence of control as nothing less than a public declaration that he has a small penis. Such an incident, therefore, demands a response so forceful that no object would ever again think to challenge him; the aggression thus displayed must mark this male as so well endowed as to overflow with vengeful energy.

The male who chose B, on the other hand, understands that the universe does not always pose its challenges in so crass and frontal a manner, and that a more mature response is called for. So B will coolly demonstrate his surplus of testosterone by simply reasserting the order of things as They Must Be. Things will cooperate, he believes, because he showed them how.

In C’s world, the chair must be reassembled because C’s work at the computer remains unfinished, and he can’t waste valuable time looking for a replacement – whereas time spent reassembling the chair is fully justified, because, hey, that’s what guys do.

D is probably senile. Masculine, but senile, in a mysteriously endearing, dirty-old-man kind of way.

You will notice, however, that none of our specimens have paused to consider what will happen next. A is so absorbed in the here and now of his tragicomic cathartic rage that the future has no meaning; B and C have failed to account for the chair’s imminent recollapse (it’s a good thing your browser doesn’t apply spell check to every page you open); and D will get in trouble later for not doing his work.

The female (remember her?) will have no part of this. She fully accepts the collapsed chair, and is able to hold that reality without feeling threatened. She makes emotional space for the event, which she will revisit as she feels necessary, probably over coffee with several other females. They will sit on the floor, even though the sofa is fully functional, and one of them will hold a stuffed animal.

Me, I chose C. My pride and butt still hurt, but I finished my work.


Written by Thag

November 8, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

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