Man vs the Clock

Originally posted September 2010

Rogers Center, Aisle 123, Row 25, seats 3-6.   This is where I’ve discovered some of life’s most intriguing truths. 
  • Like, did you realize that Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz’ last name sounds remarkably like “butthole”?  And that screaming BUTTHOLE! over and over and over at the top of your lungs while he’s on the mound might just reduce the effectiveness of his pitching?  But that most times it just annoys the girl in AISLE 123, Row 25, seat 5?
  • That the only thing more lame than doing The Wave is attempting it with 10,000 people in a stadium that seats 50,000. 
  • That the magic of baseball can still be found in the face of every little boy squirming in his seat,     holding his glove expectantly, and looking up at his dad with pride and excitement.
But recently I overheard a conversation in Row 26, seats 1-4 that summed up the age-old Mars vs Venus debate.  Go figure.  Not really what I expected from a baseball game.  Two paunchy late-30’s guys (looking closer to late 40’s thanks to one 48” waistline stuffed into 38” Dockers and one desperate attempt to hold onto the last 8 hairs on top of a head ringed by a full horseshoe at ear level) are regaling each other with tales of corporate mergers and acquisitions while their two 12-year-old sons explore even deeper topics.   The conversation goes like this:

Thing 1 to Thing 2:   “Did you hear that Dylan made out with Martina for like 2 whole minutes??!?!”
Thing 2, raising one eyebrow and hmmphing in disbelief:  “Right.”
Thing 1:  “No, he did.  I’m serious!”
Thing 2, dumb grin on his face, wants to believe.  He finds the idea somewhat arousing but can’t let on that he’s impressed for fear of seeming inexperienced himself.  So he gives a half laugh that says, “Right.  LIke that guy could pull off something that cool!”
Thing 1:  “Seriously, 2 minutes!  That’s a LONG time when you think about it!”

I’ve replayed  this conversation in my mind a thousand times and it never fails to leave me howling in laughter.  Let’s examine the facts, shall we?

 The 2 minutes becomes the first sticking point.  Is 2 minutes in actuality a “long time when you think about it?”  I guess to a 12-year-old boy it does seem like infinity and beyond if he’s on the outside looking in.  If the closest you’ve come to making out with a girl is swapping jaw breakers then, yeah, 2 minutes is infinitely more impressive.   But was it a long time for  Martina?  Because when a girl makes out with a  boy for 2 minutes and SHE thinks it seems like a long time . . . . . .  then he need not try that again.    And when she finds one she thinks is a keeper and all he gives her is 2 minutes of his  time . . . . then he need not try that again.  

 But  there’s still something even funnier about the exchange between Things 1 and 2.  You’ll notice that Martina is really secondary in the scenario.   Sure, she had to be there  . . . . .so that DYLAN could make out with HER.  Lucky girl.  But she wasn’t given credit for taking an active role or even for allowing Dylan’s nonsense to continue for 2 whole minutes!  There’s no mention of how cute she might have been, how lucky Dylan was  to get to make out with her, or how skillful she was during the 2  minutes of madness.  Instead, Thing 1 was patting Dylan on the back for his great accomplishment while Thing 2 pretended not to be impressed, hoping no one would clue in to the fact that the closest he’d been to making out with Martina was practice kissing his My Buddy doll.

Sometime during the 5th inning  a foul ball was hit way up in to the mid-level seats.   A guy who looked to be in his late 30’s . . . . and actually LOOKED like he was in his late 30’s . . . .  jogged across the empty row to catch the ball.  But it hit the arm of a seat, bounced up and over into the next section.    Then I hear Thing 1 – obviously the guy with all the ideas and the great communication skills – say “Did you see that old guy?  He couldn’t even run and get that ball! Ha Ha!”  Thing 2, having a bit more sense than his partner in crime, elected to keep his mouth shut.

So, now I’m almost laughing out loud.  One minute The Things are talking the talk about making out  for 2 minutes as though it’s a great accomplishment even though neither or them really knows what making out actually entails.    Then they switch gears, calling the 30-something guy “old” because he missed a ball that changed trajectories.  Sadly they both missed the obvious.  See, Mr. 30-Something may be an “old guy” who missed a foul ball, but in all likelihood, he’d be making out that very evening with his saucey girlfriend while The Things crawled into bed between their Spider Man sheets and dreamed of the day they might get 2 minutes of lucky. 

And then it hit me.  It was never about Martina.  She was no more relevant than the foul ball.   Both were secondary players in a competitive game of survival for the underdeveloped ego.  Sure right now it’s all about the 2 minutes for The Things.  But in a few years,  they’ll move on to sculpting the best set of abs, having the coolest car, the most impressive title on a business card.  And before they know it, they’re a couple of paunchy  30-something men  – who look closer to 40-something  – sitting at a ballgame with their sons talking about who has the biggest .  . . . mergers and acquisitions.  At 12 years of age, The Things had already learned the basest of male behaviors . . . they were Pissing for Distance.  

P4D is a game whereby two or more  Man Children lock horns in a verbal clash, each shamelessly one-upping the other in a feeble attempt to be called Best Man Child of the subdivision, office break room, carpool, or fantasy football league.  Competitions include, but are not limited to,  gas vs charcoal,  Packers vs Cowboys, lawn care expertise,  and the lingually disturbing Cornhole challenge. 

Surprisingly, we of the female persuasion don’t really get the point of this game, but  . . . .and this you’ll find shocking . . . .we DO have opinions:
  1. Two minutes of questionable passion will NOT earn you the title “The Ladies Man” in any circles and if your guy friends seem to be impressed then they’re probably also taking their cousin to the prom.
  2. When you roll your eyes at the guy in the stands who misses the foul ball, we don’t believe for one minute that you’d have caught it if you were in his position.   Don’t  let this attitude be your demise or you may find yourself an awkward 30-something who would sell his Star Wars action figure collection for just 2 minutes of make-out madness.
  3. Pissing 4 Distance will earn you a pair of wet underoos.   Not a fan of damp undies.  Evolve . . . maybe you’ll meet a nice girl.
 Man Children will be Man Children, I guess.   In fact, studies indicate that in a representational group of 10 male specimens, 9 of them are indeed Man Children.  That says that only 1 in 10 is a fully evolved Man.   It’s a disheartening ratio.  Does that mean we girls are fated to waste our lives with the Dylans of this world?  I mean, I’m sure in his 120 seconds of glory, he and his buddies agree that he awed and amazed.   But we’ve all known a Dylan and a Martina and Martina’s side of the story us usually quite different and much closer to the truth.  

At face value our odds seem insurmountable.   While we all want the fully evolved man, there simply aren’t enough to go around.    But perhaps it’s a bit like taking home a rescue puppy.   We don’t  know what damage someone has done to the poor creature in its past and we really have no idea how crazy it is until we live with it.   But by the time the quirks start to rear their ugly heads, we’ve actually grown fond of the little fella.  We think we can fix him.  Or at least make him a better version of himself.   We pat him on the head when he does good, withhold treats when he’s done bad, silence his barking with an authoritative “Quiet!”, and put on our Alpha Dog face when his aggressive tendencies emerge.  And when that doesn’t work . . . . . . we pull out the shock collar.

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