Not sure where the following came from, but it turned up on my cyber doorstep recently. I guess some men have trouble living up to their fantasies.
Ok – everybody knows depressed people have these outbursts of grief and crying for no apparent reason. At least some people do. But certainly not me, a guy – I’m not going to start springing leaks in my well-caulked hull of a head. Real depressed men don’t do that. Certainly I never do that – not ever – well, hardly ever. And should an accident like that happen, a spill of mental incontinence when least expected, it’s not going to happen in public. No way.
So what happened the other day was totally out of line. I was driving to work, having picked just the right time to miss all the jams and fly down the freeway, when I’m listening to the radio. Not just any pop tune bouncing beat kind of thing but the stealth ego breakers of NPR. Serves me right. The story had something to do with concentration camp survivors. They had been contacted by this dying veteran with a shoebox full of snapshots taken of a liberated camp at the close of the war. The guy found out who was in the pictures and delivered them to the survivors. Then they all had a celebration to honor the guy after his death – all those happy tears – and somebody made a movie of the whole thing. OK, very moving, very ennobling, but I don’t know these people. What’s it to me? And there I am exiting the freeway onto the downtown street a few blocks from my office when these lurchy guttural swellings started rising up in my throat. What the hell is this? Am I about to throw up as I’m pulling into the parking lot? No, it was worse than that. I’m fighting down this sobmachinegun choking my breath and pushing wet stuff out of my eyes.
I get my car into the tight space in our lot off the alley behind our building, and of course the place is packed – and the ten-foot high suv’s are looking down at me inside my flat sedan as I sit there and lean on the steering wheel. I am struggling to stifle this shakey lung box of mine and inhale sharply any stray moisture trying to escape, but I am on the verge of losing it.
Will I be able to get inside the building and to my office and stay in control of this mess? Or am I going to have to start up this engine again and go right home? What do I do?
The answer was simple. Think of what real depressed men do in situations like this. Real guys, like Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon. There he is, when you first see him, depressed as hell because his beautiful wife is dead, and what does he do? Sit around sobbing and blubbering? No way. He does the manly thing – he gets dead drunk. And then he gets full of suicidal rage and goes out to beat up a lot of bad guys and blast them limb from limb with his endlessly repeating automatic nine millimeter recoilless cannon. That’s what he does. But you don’t have to be in the movies to do real guy stuff.
You can leather up and go dump your cash into a shining chrome beast and roar out onto the open road of American male dreams. Sure, you’re a little old for this sort of thing so you might lose the gravity battle with that hefty beauty as you tear around a sharp corner and slide across the pavement, leaving half the skin of your leg behind. But what the hell. You get up, dust off, bleed your guy injuries away and roar back. And you always remember what a friend of mine told me years ago – don’t ever let anybody tell you different – guys love these machines because of the vibrations.
Is anybody bawling and crying after all that? No! I was inspired. I rubbed my brain briskly, got out of the car and strode into that office. And no one was any the wiser. Accidents may happen, but real depressed men know how to deal with them.
– Jack X