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That's a laugh – death's comic relief; celebrate man while he lasts

Oct 15, 2012 04:35PM ● By Scott Blackwell

Humor columnist Ron Bates

By Ron Bates

Dear Guys:

Have you ever stopped to think about what it means to be a man?

Ha! Ha! Just kidding! Of course you haven’t! We’re men! We don’t stop to think about anything! Show me a man who thinks and I’ll show you a 911 operator with nothing to do. You don’t win a Darwin Award by thinking! In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s an automatic

The Darwin Awards, as all men know, are presented each year (to the nearest surviving female relative) for outstanding achievement in the field of dying in the stupidest way possible. They are named for famed British naturalist Charles Darwin, the first man to be eaten by sea turtles.

And that is what it means to be a man – having the kind of death they hand out awards for. And when they make a movie about your life – and they will – you will be played by Wile E. Coyote.

So it is written. So it shall be.

Of course, I’m not saying your goal in life should be to have a tombstone that reads “Here lies a great man … or as much of him as we could find.” I’m saying you can’t spell “Buried Under Manure,” “Attacked by Tasmanian Devil,” or “Man Burned at Burning Man” without “MAN.”

This is who we are – death’s comic relief.

How did this happen? Our story begins with a dozen bottle rockets, a roll of duct tape and a dream. Sure, they called us mad but – in that golden, childhood moment between the lighting of the fuses and the most unpleasant wedgie a burn ward has ever seen – we actually believed we could fly.

But I’m not here to defend the heroic Apollo Underpants Program. That’s for the ape scientists who will inevitably study our extinction. No, I’m here on a more urgent matter – to tell you something you already know. And that something is this:

The thing that separates men from women and performing dolphins is not our ability to seriously hurt ourselves. It is our ability to hilariously hurt ourselves. We fall off the roof. We ski off the mountain. We tick off the ostrich. This is why many families afflicted with men find they need to take certain precautionary measures, such as putting America’s Funniest Home Videos on speed-dial.

The good news is that none of this is our fault. You know how we try to light the barbecue grill with a five-gallon gas can and a Super Soaker? Turns out, that’s not just because we enjoy outdoor cooking and ambulance rides. It’s because it is MANLY! And by manly, I mean pointless but with lots of explosions, as in “You know who makes manly movies? Keanu Reeves!”

Manliness means never having to say your skin grafts have healed. That’s why, in accordance with the teachings of the great philosopher Nike Swoosh, we “Just Do It.” We don’t “Just Stop and Think About Doing It.” What kind of a girly slogan is that? If men thought about things before we did them, do you think we’d have NASCAR? Ziggy tattoos? The McRib?

Of course not! And yet women still call us idiots behind our backs. Or, if we happen to be in a stop, drop and roll at the time, behind our backs – then to our faces – then behind our backs again. The fact is, it’s easy for them – they were born with two responsible, hall monitor-like “X” chromosomes. I mean, come on! “X” is the universal symbol for danger! That’s why we put it on poison bottles and Mexico. We men, on the other hand, have to deal with the “Y” or “Yes” chromosome. That’s the one that’s always telling us “Yes, that TV would look great in the hot tub” or “Yes, you can dry pants in the microwave” or “Oh YES dude, you can totally jump though a Cremora fireball! That’s why God created Bactine!” (For those of you who still have eyebrows, the Cremora fireball is a Hollywood-worthy, do-it-yourself explosion that can be made by a complete moron (or two partial morons) using ordinary Cremora brand non-dairy creamer. For legal purposes, I must point out that this is extremely risky, can cause grave bodily harm and works equally well with Coffee Mate.)

Fortunately, those of us over the age of 35 have nothing to worry about as we are protected by a thick coating of healthy, internal asbestos. Thanks, public school system! As for the younger or clean generation… hey, congratulations on your award!

– Ron Bates is a freelance writer and editor who regularly provides glimpses into the funny and so-sad-they’re-funny aspects of his life. He plans to one day write a bestseller, or – at the very least – read one.