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The Cat In Your Hat

holding your own


Those who hold high places left you holding a near-empty toolbox ...
or as luck would have it!

TIME EXPOSURE-- montage 2

by Antone P. Braga

CLUNK! A very large buck knife fell to the floor below the coat rack. It was the end of another work day. In the jostling for our coats the knife was knocked loose out of someone's pocket. I focused on the knife at my feet. The young man who owned the knife scrambled to pick it up and concealed it back in his coat pocket without a word. Two young women also seeing what had happened, proceeded to cozy-up to him as if to say they admired the power that the weapon represented. It was done in jest but with a grain of truth. Maybe it was a brief glimpse of something that has all but been eradicated: the man standing guardian for the woman.

A delay for a price check, while waiting in line at a large home-improvement center, gave opportunity for a woman standing in front of me to strike up a conversation with the young lady cashier. Apparently she saw herself as on an errand for her husband and she said, "Men are all alike. They want to be mothered." Catching herself from going further and realizing she stood in mixed company, she turned to me and said, "No offense." I shook my head and said, "Everything is a trade-off and has a price to exact." Seeing a puzzled look on her face I continued, "It is men that have been responsible for protecting and taking care of women in many respects, but our roles are all being obliterated. You haven't seen anything yet–there is only one pie no matter how it is cut." The woman was visibly shaken and turned on her heals and left the store without comment. The cashier awkwardly started telling me about male customers that have asked her out on dates, apparently her way of telling me that men are still on the asking end of things, at least in her life. The reality of today's version of equality in the sexes has become a bit of a wet blanket. Maybe spin the bottle will make a revival and ease the discomfort!

The elder gentleman extended his hand and asked me to have a seat. He was quick of mind although the years obviously had taken their toll. I came to seek his professional advice on a project I had babied. It had been fraught with starts and stops for many years. It seemed just as the media, or the publishing industry, or the authorities were interested, they dropped it like a hot potato. His only advice: "Forget bucking the system. It is too strongly entrenched in the status quo, no matter how much sense is mustered otherwise. It is too much to think about moving a mountain with logic." Just as our conference ended the most striking part of our meeting occurred—a quick repartee as we stood and shook hands. He started by saying, "You know if you were a woman I wouldn't be allowed to shake your hand." I asked, "Why not?" "Because we have a directive that cautions us not to have physical contact with the opposite sex, so we avoid any claim of sexual harassment." "I would think physical contact with the same sex would carry the same jeopardy, given those guidelines," I said. "Well, I don't make the rules. I just follow them," he said dutifully. After leaving his office I came to the conclusion that his conventional advice and attitude were well meant. But, the common thread seemed to put common sense aside in favor of dictated correctness. If we can't apply common sense to our conventions, then they are conventions not worth keeping—the garment does outweigh the filigree. I am quite sure our evolving intellect will eventually see to it that either common sense pervades, or chagrin alters, our conventions...notwithstanding great attempts to dictate otherwise.

In co-dependence denial the greatest ignorance is to reject substantive matter out of hand, yet insurance policyholders do it as preset course, unaware of their vulnerability till often too late. The question is when will they have a hand in setting their course? The answer is when they imagine they can.

© 1994-2015 APB

Chagrin, a verse
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© 1991-2016 APB