Monday, September 8, 2008

Fishing For Answers

Normally, when The Common Man is off and about in the morning, doing the things that he does, his radio dial stays in the NPR range, with some sports-talk thrown in to keep him honest. After all, The Common Man is at an age where it's probably not appropriate to be headbanging to "Welcome to the Jungle" while trying to steer an automobile away from other cars and pedestrians. Since your reaction time cuts down as you get older, that's just good sense.

But this morning, The Common Man needed to take The Uncommon Wife in to work, since their other car has decided to need break fluid. So, this morning, The Common Man listened to Bonnie and the Beaver on his way in and became embroiled in the following problem. A man wrote to the Beaver asking for advice (for who has better wisdom and knowledge to impart than an AM DJ?) about his girlfriend. The man, say his name is Bob, is 33 and has recently moved in with his 41 year old girlfriend. They both have kids of comparable ages, share common interests, never "EVER" fight, and presumably share a blissful existence. Except, however, that Bob wants to have another child (and from the sound of it, wants to have it yesterday), while his beloved "can't" have any kids. And he wonders; as he comes to a man who calls himself "Fish" in public, and to those who would religiously listen to the Beaver Monday-Friday, 5:30-10:00 AM, what should he do about this?

The Common Man's advice is simple: First, DO NOT WRITE TO A MORNING DISC JOCKEY AND HIS AUDIENCE FOR ADVICE!!! After all, if your beloved is as sympatico as the man seems to indicate, chances are she's listening and thinking, "Hey, I'm 41. And Bob's 33. And we both have kids. And he wants to have more and I 'can't.' Dammit, Bob, you dumbass!" Plus, her friends and his friends are listening and putting two and two together, particularly since Bob seems like the kind of guy who can't go 15 minutes without telling you something awkward and revealing about himself (he is, after all, discussing he and his girlfriends reproductive options (and her apparent shortcomings) with thousands of listeners in Southern Wisconsin).

So, yeah, shut up Bob. The kinds of answers that you and millions of other Americans seek to aleve you of the burden of making decisions are not simple. They are context specific, different for each and every person depending on where and how they find themselves in life. It's one thing to seek advice from a close friend with whom you can talk out pros and cons and who can help you to make your decision, but to rely on the 60 second advice of a man named Beaver, his chain-smoking, bar-hopping, is 40 but dresses 20 and sounds 55 sidekick, and their shallow debate about whether you're "selfish" or if this is a "deal-breaker" is ludicrous, not to mention the waffling of their loyal, chipper followers ("On the one hand I think he's selfish and he don't deserve her, but on the other hand, I can definitely understand the desire to have more kids and think he may need to get a surrogate. I don't know what I'd do. Why did I call again?").

Cameron Schaefer, at Schaefer's Blog, talked the other day about Americans needing to take responsibility for their actions, and The Common Man thinks that part of that is to take responsibility for the decision making process. So many people seem to look to Oprah or Dr. Phil or Tyra or the Beaver for how to behave, how to act, and what to do. They turn to that angry guy on CNBC to find out where they should invest or to that angry guy on FoxNews to figure out who they should be angry at. Why? Why is there such a desire to seek the advice of others and not use the good sense God gave?

Manliness demands that you take responsibility for your life at all stages, not just the end product. That takes work. Work that no one else can do for you. All the advice Dr. Phil or the Beaver can give you isn't worth an ounce of that little voice in your head, Bob, telling you what the right thing to do is.


Anonymous said...

"this morning, The Common Man needed to take The Uncommon Wife in to work, since their other car has decided to need break fluid."

I am a little confused here. It seems that this sentence should have read more like this:

1.this morning, The Uncommon Wife had to start walking to work very early since her car has decided to need brake fluid.

2. this morning, The Common Man needed to fashion a parachute to the back of his car since it decided to need brake fluid.

3. this morning, The Common Man needed to cut a hole in the floor pan so that he could apply the brakes" flintstone style" since their other car has decided to need brake fluid.

4. this morning, The Common Man has "helmet head" since he has started wearing a helmet as a precautionary measure since their car has decided to need brake fluid.


The Common Man said...

Mark, dear friend, there was unfortunately no time to fashion parachutes, cut holes, or buy helmets. Acting in an impulsive, manly fashion, The Common Man simply threw The Uncommon Wife into the car, The Boy into the carseat, told them to strap themselves in, and peeled out. And, as chivalry is not completely dead, and it was raining, and The Common Man does not like to sleep on the couch, he did not have the option of sending his wife to work on foot. All of those, however, were good suggestions, and The Common Man thanks you for your valuable input. He's going to buy some helmets now so that he's ready next time.