I know it’s usually all fun and games and mangled feet around here, but now it’s time to get serious.
Sometimes people kill themselves, especially young dudes. And so, as part of the Man Week initiative (which aims to raise awareness about mental illness and addiction in males), Gavin Heaton, who is super nice, and Mark Pollard, who I met once at a conference, have both survived being young dudes and worked really hard to put together this book for men. The book is about all kinds of stuff – what it means to be a dude, how to cope when you’re a struggling dude, and teaching your kids important stuff about being a dude. All the proceeds go to the Inspire Foundation and they’re going to do awesome things with the money, which you probably don’t need anyway.
As a lover of men, this is an issue that is close to the place in my chest where a heart would normally reside. I also know what it’s like to feel crap and not really know what to do about it.
I wrote a story about my dad, who is awesome, and how he taught me some valuable lessons about what it means to be a man. You can read that, along with many better pieces in the book, which is now available for your purchasing pleasure.
You can find out more info about the book here.
If you are shy on cash, you can buy the eBook version for $15 here.
Or if you prefer a more “hands on” experience, you can buy the soft cover from Blurb and I will read it to you by candlelight.*
So dig deep and get a nice present for your pa or some other dude in your life.
*will not actually read to anyone by candlelight, not even Jesus himself.
Me: Dad, there’s something gross on my neck. Can you take a look?
My brother: Is it your face?
Dad: It’s eczema.
Me: I’m going to my room.
My mother does not cook. She has fed her family for twenty-five years using a process known as “food assembly.” Food assembly involves cutting and chopping, adding water to various items, and putting things in the oven or microwave. Dinner guests are perfectly aware that 80% of their meal has come pre-prepared and will often turn to my mother in between courses and compliment her. “This is excellent, Lyn. Did you make it? AHAHA OMG HAHA.”
As a result of all this culinary ineptitude, I have no idea how to do basic things such as boil rice or fry fish. If I had my own house, and you came to visit, and I pleasantly asked you, “Can I get you something?” it would be a filthy lie, because I could not get you anything except a glass of wine. I can, however, make an acceptable carrot, walnut & banana cake, because my father is a most excellent baker.
As a kid, Dad spent every afternoon after school at either one of his grandmother’s houses, where they taught him to bake, sew, and stay away from black people. He’s pretty crafty in all areas of the kitchen and he can mend a button before you can say, “Why doesn’t your wife do that for you?” Visiting men often frown at my father as he zips around the kitchen in his apron, stirring frantically and humming to Rick Wakeman. “I’ve got to get these muffins on before my aerobics class starts,” he would explain, and I’d be even just a bit more proud of him than I had been fifteen seconds earlier. Oh yes, my father may have done the cooking, the cleaning, the sewing, the ironing, and the fruity gym classes, but he was just as talented at changing the oil in my car or mowing the lawn. The only task I ever saw him defeated at was attempting to rename a word document on his computer.
Unfortunately, because my father wanted to teach me important things in life, like how to use condoms and mix prescription medications safely and play the Pink Panther theme on piano, he never imparted his domestic knowledge to me. And rather than observing him closely to learn what I could, I simply sat back and enjoyed being waited upon, cooked for and cleaned up after.
So now, between my stints of living at home, I walk the streets of Sydney with tatty clothes and a growling stomach. I can still make that cake though.
This post was brought to you by a nudge from Gavin Heaton.
Being the curious little tacker that I was, I once asked my father how old he was when he first got trolleyed.
“Me?” he said, “I’ve never been drunk!”
And being the adolescent pisskop that I was, I then asked him what he did for fun as a youngster.
“I once threw buckets of dirty water on my grandmother’s fence,” he confessed.
And I decided not to admit that I had stolen money from his bedroom to buy weed.
Dad: “How far away is dinner?”
Mum: “About two metres.”
Dad: “HAHA. How long will it be?”
Annik: “I’d say the pork’s around 20cm.”
Dad: “You’re all wankers.”
My father treats a lot of old folk in nursing homes around the Hills, and they are all nuts. Based on the anecdotes he shares about these visits, I am definitely going to stuff him and Mum into a home the moment one of them loses their glasses and then finds them on top of their head.
- At a certain Christmas Carols charity concert one year, a mature lady did not feel she was being given enough attention as everyone was looking towards the performers on stage and not at her. In an admirable effort, she stripped down to her birthday suit and strutted up and down the aisle of the nursing home’s dining hall while waving her arms above her head. Obeying instructions from staff to ignore this particularly attention-seeking patient, the other geriatrics simply stared ahead and continued to watch the carols. Undeterred, the naked lady walked to the side of the stage and unplugged all the speakers, then climbed on top of one of them and began singing her own carols.
- One blind patient was admitted after she fell and broke a hip while frantically going through her house searching for her missing husband. When the paramedics were called to attend to the blind lady, they discovered her husband hiding in a wardrobe, giggling at his visually-impaired wife’s inability to win Hide and Seek. In an apparent attempt to make amends, the husband would visit his blind wife at the Home for lunch every day. The nurse would place a plate in front of each of them and explain to the blind lady, “Your peas are at twelve o’clock, your potatoes are at three o’clock, your ham is at six o’clock and your carrots are at nine o’clock.” The old man would smile at the nurse, wait for her to leave, and then reach over and spin his wife’s plate forty-five degrees.
- Foolishly, I accompanied my father on a call to a nursing home when I was about eleven. Bored and wandering the halls, I got talking to an old bird who pulled me into her room with the promise of a gift. As I silently assessed my nearest emergency exits, she shuffled around her kitchen opening and closing cupboards and muttering to herself. “Why don’t you let me go and we’ll just call it square?” I suggested, but she had apparently found what she was looking for and pressed an apple and a pear into my hands. ”I got these for you,” she lied as I backed away. Out in the hall, I shoved them into the nearest fruit bowl and then made my father take me home.
- Another lady ate all her blankets, then bitched about being cold at night and having a sore tummy.