Gender Equality: The Manny
Really Cool Piute Marking Only About 110 Years Old
Life Really Is Not That Complicated
He was a tough guy. He grew up hard and mean. But in his counterpart he was a great lover. Perhaps his lady friends would question such a claim but the claim is more about loving life. He was the kind of young man to play nose guard in football. That fellow that lines up head on head with a 250 lb center on the offense. No finesse required just no fear and a desire to, well “hurt” is really the right word. And as an older man he seemed to like to fight, like in bars kind of thing.
At this point we will call our man “half gay”. The half that is gay. You get it, being joyful and free in life. That old time gay. In fact he had preferences other than modern gay but drew no line in the sand as to good or bad when love was involved.
Somewhere along the line he grew a verbal mean streak. An ability to make just about anyone cry. A razor sharp tongue that could press buttons that even the recipient did not know they had. A brutal near psychopathic and empathetic at the same time. An ability to read and put that knowledge into the job of harm.
And yet the dichotomy persisted. A “sweet side”. A “gay” side. Let us not be bashful, a “female” side in the spirit of yin and yang. Of course we know a man can easily possess the attributes our crazy society labels as feminine and a lady can just as well hold a masculine side. That is like one of those big “duhs”. And so we begin to question this man. He appears to have the devil on one should and an angel on the other and yet remains in control of both, a freedom choice so profound that he can neutralize the voice of who he is against at any given moment.
Can a man possess such a strength turned weak and still not be a split personality? Perhaps a good one for shrinks.
Please review the title again as we jump ahead. What is a Manny? Well it is a man who performs the tasks of a nanny. Diaper changer, food feeder, homework helper, nature/park walker and etc. etc. A tough guy turned soft. Or maybe in our case a soft guy turned tough. For we all know that one of the most emotional and physically challenging jobs on this God’s green earth is raising a child. Does our man described here need to resort to his false “manly man” role or to his feminine softer side with love above.
We all see it. A Manny must possess and act in both ways.
Hey let me set up a great song. It is a Manny type song. No not the singers. It is the author and lyrics. The guy just makes you want to hold old Lefty/Cisco and tell him it is alright. Our writer is Townes Van Zandt. He gets dust eating tough as hell men and makes us want to love them. It works.
Pancho and Lefty
Let Us Always Reserve Judgment
I Wonder Why My Children Think I should Be The One Gardening
And So The Story Goes
So the note comes home via a hard working wife. The note is brutal it declares that the little boy who was the charge of the Manny was a grade behind in reading comprehension. What a complete and lousy failure for the man who only had this one task of growing the boy up right. Just a few weeks ago the boy got an award for being the best in scholastics in his class.
A knife was thrust into the heart of the Manny who now questioned his worth as a man. It was not a hell off his shoulder, it was deeper, it was about being a failure as a man. Physical pain was so damned easy to withstand and overcome. But this letting down of the fine boy was beyond pain.
Chess, Checkers, Science books, exercise and near perfect nutrition, proper sleep and always bright and shiny to make all proud. Training in swimming and martial arts. A deep reverence for spirituality. And yet all this turned into a bunch of crap. The suitcase was opened but only stared at, ready. The bottle was bought and ready to be opened to change the pain into self-indulgent self pity. The tearful letter saying goodbye was written and on the kitchen table. What the hell kind of man cannot even raise a boy right?
But a vision occurred from nearly a half century before and the Manny wept. Probably the most grueling track race of them all is the 800 meter dash. Half a mile as fast as you can go. The boy who became the Manny put all into it. Ended up puking with lungs burning and legs spasming. A collapse on the infield. And then the great coach came by and told him he had won and had a spot in the finals. A great honor for his team.
At that moment the Manny knew what had to be done. Just because he lost the first trials he still had to finish the meet. Yes he ran outside and puked. But he picked himself up got cleaned up and picked the young boy up at school.
He had one job to do before he left. The suitcase packed away the letter placed under the mattress and dinner in the oven. He had to instill and create an excitement of reading in his charge. He had to finish the job of making the child want to excel in understanding and loving reading. And in a bit he had to face the boy’s mom and beg some forgiveness and the right to try just a little bit more.
By golly the boy went for it. After some soccer out back and looking at a bug with the magnifying glass together the boy was primed. Fresh nuts and blackberries for snack and the Manny told the boy about the exciting story of sharks they would read. And when that was done, black cherries and honey bread came out and the next book was even better. The corner was turned through love and obligation.
The Manny played an old song and sang and danced with the boy. A silly sally song that the Manny would play on a 45 back in his day of youth.
Red Rubber Ball
I Do Believe The Worst Is Over Now
Maybe Just A REd Face
Embrace Love and Forgiveness For Yourself
Well the mother got home a bit late and the boy was clean, fed, happy and asleep in bed. The Manny felt that with some time he could explain to the boy why he had failed and that he had to go away so the boy could have a better Manny who would not fail him.
The mother looked up to the Manny and kind of gave a sheepish grin. Of course the Manny got her her one glass of wine a night and provided her with options for her late dinner. Space was given to let her decompress from a tough work day and worries. Dishes were finished. The Manny managed to hold back some tears of regret that failure brings.
When mother was finished cleaning up and putting her feet up she walked over to her big working bag with purse and the kitchen sink therein. She invited the Manny to sit with her on the couch. She had already done a few prayers and seemed resigned and peaceful with the task she must complete with the Manny. Things were not good.
The Manny reflected that maybe now he would finish the book he had been working on and maybe visit with his older children. Life was not going to end, though somehow he felt it would as he knew.
He bent down and gave a loving kiss to his loving wife and mother of the boy. She gently pushed him away and smiled. She was a good woman.
Then she looked him straight in the eye and explained that the boy was excelling. She explained that she got another boy’s report. As they held hands off to bed, stopping at the boy’s room for a look and a sigh, The Manny told her about that 800 meter race and the mom, reminded him that is tough side was good but his tender loving side was even better.
They laid down on top of the letter under the mattress and the rest is history.
Of course I am reminded of that night and I hope for Manny more.