Here's my "All Over the Map" from this week's Arkansas Weekly:
A man has to live by a code of ethics.
There should be some definitive guidelines to follow through life, and I think that over my 35 years (cough) on this Earth, I have accumulated a bucketful of rules that have suited me well.
My first rule of life is to treat others as they treat you. This, of course, is common sense. However, this guideline could cause some awkward problems if you ever find yourself giving John Travolta a back massage.
Some believe a real man should look another man in the eyes when he shakes hands and think a man’s grip should be tight enough to make that other person slightly grimace. It’s a sign of strength, power and confidence. But that macho posturing is not for me. No, what I like to do is shake a man’s hand with a really limp grip, sort of like a dead fish. Then, I wink and blow him a kiss. This throws people off and puts me in control.
I think every man should go to a random little league baseball game at least once in his adult life. There’s nothing like seeing the innocence of the young players, or hearing the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd. Plus, just for giggles, it’s also fun to pick out a random child on a team and start screaming at him without mercy from the stands -- particularly if they’re playing horribly. Sometimes, it’s fun to throw food at them as well. Toughens the punks up, but make sure you have an escape route when the parents come running for you.
A real man should be able to cook a kick-ass steak. In fact, a real man should be able to go to the pasture with a sledgehammer and a chainsaw, kill the cow, skin it, gut it, and then cook the steak. After the meal, a real man would then take the head of the cow, put it on his head, and drive around town wearing it, scaring other motorists into other vehicles or buildings.
A real man always has a uniform of some sort. For Steve Jobs, it was a black turtleneck, jeans and running shoes. For Jack Lalanne, it was a stylish blue exercise suit. For me, it’s a plain t-shirt, jeans or khakis, and my squirrel boots -- unless it’s Wednesday. If it’s Wednesday, then I wear one of my mother’s silk blouses, a pair of Muck Boots, and no pants.
Real men don’t cry, of course. And anyone who tells you otherwise is a sissy. There are two exceptions, though: Old Yeller and the moment you realize you’re down to the last Schlitz in the refrigerator.
Speaking of dogs, tiny dogs like poodles, Pomeranians and Brussel Griffons – basically any dog you can dropkick -- are dogs real men avoid. And if a real man is dating a woman who owns one of these yapping little rodents, then she’s going to face a Sophie’s Choice: the dog goes or the man goes. A real man has a real dog – like a lab or, even better, a damn bulldog. A real man doesn’t have a dog that can fit on a standard-sized rotisserie.
Action pic of a Brussels Griffon attacking a turtle. The Brussels was killed by the turtle seconds after this picture was taken.
Finally, there are a few things a man should always have in his pocket: fifty bucks in cash; a lighter; a pocketknife; a tiny flashlight; and a banana.
And I know what you’re thinking. But real men need potassium too.