Marlon Abrahams learns that some wars are won by keeping shoes on.
I think all boys have a natural instinct that makes us intrinsically boys. I mean the stuff that makes us jump up and scream our heads off at a sports event, or that thing that instinctively makes us choose a gun or a car as a toy. Or when we’re kids, we instinctively know that wrestling each other to the ground is the natural thing to do instead of having a tea party with the girls.
Anthropologists and geneticists will tell us that it is a code re-written through the ages from the first warriors who took up arms to protect hearth and home.
I am proud of that instinct, it makes me proud to feel like a man and to instinctively react to a scene from Braveheart, or a war movie, or a boxing match.
Today however, the battles have gone, there are no real honour-based wars to fight.
Gone are the days when you could take pride in being a man by calling someone out for a duel with pistols or swords. Gone are the days when you could join the army and expect to meet the enemy eyeball to eyeball before engaging… Wait… I hear it… yes… there it is… ahhh the new enemy as arrived…
Today our manhood is tested by a cleverly crafted enemy, who is as ruthless and destructive as all the h-bombs ever invented, put together. To survive one of its onslaughts is to be regarded as a hero of the highest order. Picture the scene of a recent battle...
My doorbell rings. I answer it and am immediately assaulted by Maddison. We’ve not seen each other for a week ‘cos of work and other issues. She runs up to me, does that weird laugh of hers, like a mobster who’s just won the lotto, and throws her arms around my legs. I snatch her up and hug her and its kisses all round. Not a minute later, the battle begins.
I’m lying on my bed, which is on the floor, and I invite her to climb under the covers with me while we decide what to do. She moves cautiously towards the bed. “Take off your shoes first love,” I say gently. She makes direct eye contact with me, indicating full-well that she knows exactly what the request means. However, she proceeds to walk onto the bed still wearing her shoes. I begin to sound like my mother when I repeat endlessly, “Maddison, please take your shoes off,”.
I accompany my request with various justifications, like her not soiling my sheets, etc etc. The enemy keeps her eyes locked onto mine, never blinking. She continues, cool as John Wayne on his best day, and she climbs under the duvet, right next to me, shoes and all, still making eye contact.
Now, I’m a practical sort of bloke. So obviously I’m trying to find some kind of justification for her behaviour. Trying to reason with a 3-year-old is just plain insane. So my questions of “why Maddison? Why don’t you just listen to me?” only serve to confuse me even more, especially when the reply is a cool, calm “who’s my bitch?" stare.
Yes, the battle field has changed forever and a man’s honour is measured by how calm he can remain in the full glare of the stare of a 3-year-old. I feel a strong urge to go out and howl at the moon for inspiration.Which battles parental battles are you up against? Read more by Marlon Abrahams