Thursday, May 1, 2014


The best friend I ever had (to me a brother) died about three decades ago.  I have watched his son grow into adulthood and now into grey hair like me.  Just turning sixty he recently traveled down to Portland and purchased a Bushmaster.   He also has a concealed carry license.  I ask myself why?  Is he afraid or does he need that to display his manhood? 

Then I remember: we are not so unalike.   We started out the same, but somewhere in my later life I took a different turn – became a different person.  I changed. 

There was a time that I bought whiskey by the gallon, carried a pistol, hit on the wives of all my friends…bellicose, loud and obnoxious – I could fill pages with the outrageous things that I did.  

But about age forty I made a total life change.   I retired from the Navy, married a beautiful, intelligent women; we attended college together and then moved to Alaska and taught school in the Indian and Eskimo villages.   Now I try to be the man she wants me to be…but that earlier train wreck is still there, just under the surface.  

 So, how can I judge a friend?   We are in different worlds and have different perspectives - but I understand him – I have been there.     

A man defines who he is by his appearance and how he presents himself.  It is in the male DNA that we are part of a pecking order – and we try to distinguish ourselves in the pack.   Mankind has moved past the primitive days where physical prowess defined the alpha: where the top contenders competed; the wanna-bees puffed up and made noise; and the rest fell in line to follow.  It was always about who got the pick of the females. 

 Most men watch violent movies, violent TV shows and competitive sports.   We still vicariously see ourselves in the action hero role – and it is still about getting the pick of the females and the respect of other men.


Male psyche hasn't changed; but today we distinguish ourselves by more than just physical presence.   We can now be defined by money, intelligence, education, position and skill as well as physical prowess.   Many, or maybe most men, are just satisfied not to contend, but to lives independently.   This day and age we have that option.  

However, our DNA still wants to define us.   If we don’t have the money or the power or the position or some notoriety or the necessary self esteem, then we can apply for a carry permit and show up at the bowling alley or the ball game or the grocery store packing.  

Again, I don’t mean this to be judgmental: after all I dress up in leathers, ride my motorcycle and get a thrill at the power between my legs – that badass rush at riding in a pack of fifteen or twenty bikers. 


As men we are who we are, and that's our excuse; but it is still true that most of the harm inflicted on society comes from some primitive strain still embedded in the male DNA.  

the Ol’Buzzard


  1. I noticed when you used the term "we" it was generally referring "men" in our society rather than "men" as a species.

    I mention that because from what I've seen in reading, movies, and other forms of communication (I've never been out of the US) our society is a very pleasant place to live right now when compared to some other places.

    1. I have been in and seen men in war. I have seen a propensity among men (males) for extreme cruelty - and that has existed throughout the ages and throughout cultures. We (men) are the catalyst for wars - war and violence is part of our nature - and always has been.

  2. If you ever stop changing, then you aren't really alive. I think I have been quite a few people in the last 64 years. Some of them were definitely individuals that you wouldn't want to stand to near to. Introverted artist, extrovert performer, overweight drunk pot head, skinny fitness freak French speaking organic gardener.
    I've noticed that my personality adapts to the situation I'm in. When I'm working a few months a year, I become competitive and an extroverted loudmouth...I love to sing and perform for people. I tell very bad jokes in lousy French and I don't care if no one understands half of what I say. Then I can go for weeks without seeing anyone and barely speaking. My advice to Rob is to try to get out more often. Really, we are all more alike than different. Rob, your comment on US Society isn't very relevant, because you qualified it by admitting that have no frame of reference to judge the rest of the world with. Frankly, I've seen America from the bottom to the top. I've lived as a dirt poor person in the worst urban neighborhoods in some of the crappiest cities in the USA. I have friends who are very wealthy in America and in Europe. I suppose your observation on the pleasantness of America might be accurate if you were comparing it to Mogadisu, Somalia, but really, for most of us, the best place is where we think our home and hearts are. I've been living in the place I love for the last 20 years. It's pretty nice here, too!

    1. Hopefully each reincarnation is better than the last - at least I feel it is in my case.

    2. Microdot- I believe my comment was relevant, it comes from where I'm sitting.
      That I and my comments obviously do not mean squat to you, well, that's your problem .... and you probably don't see it as a 'problem'.


COMMENT: Ben Franklin said, "I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false."