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January 9, 2014 / austreberto

what i heard a kid say in public once (boys will be boys)

what i heard a kid say in public once (boys will be boys)

 

this is how a real man does it

as he karate chopped his way through what i imagined to be a stack of cement slabs (nine or ten maybe) in one fell swoop

as represented by his friend’s hands held together

 

it was a clean break

straight through

effortless

 

chest puffed out

he was proud of his imaginary manly accomplished

while the other boys around him felt inadequate

because they believed they weren’t strong enough

because they believed they weren’t smart enough

because none of them thought of it first

(calling dibs was the one rule they lived and died by)

but they were trying their best to come up with something better

 

even at a young age we develop schemes to defeat others

teaching ourselves that there can only be one

 

this is how a real man does it

 

i wanted to tell them how wrong they were

that it doesn’t work like that

 

life doesn’t work like that

 

(gender is not a representation of strength or superiority

 

but girls do have cooties)

 

i wanted to tell them it’s about being a good person

 

about following through

about character

about honesty

about feeling

about the size of your heart and the actions that follow it

and that it’s okay to be afraid

 

not everyone is impervious to the natural reactions of human nature

in all its definitions

in every language

 

we feel

especially when we don’t want to

 

the boys

were loud and rambunctious

as they roughhoused each other

and their mothers ignored them

figuring that they were up to their usual mischievous antics

 

i still wanted to say all this to them

knowing that they would brush it off

like a besmirched  grass stain

 

but they would get it eventually on their own

when the time was right

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