The More Things Change…

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

Forgive me for sneaking in an old column (July 1999) but I stumbled on it while looking for something else and I realized men and women haven’t changed all that much

I’m sure you have all seen the picture of the Oakville man who celebrated his graduation from Queens by running with the bulls (most graduates just put on a funny hat and go looking for a job).  Every year at this time, thousands of boneheads tear down the narrow streets of Pamplona a few feet ahead of a half dozen crazed bulls on their way to the arena to fight for the honour of becoming some Spaniard’s dinner. Unfortunately, our boy, Robert Stodola, was gored. He recovered, except for a hole in his arm, a nervous tic and he can no longer walk by a meat counter without spinning around to see what’s chasing him.

Why people would want to run ahead of six ugly animals the size of a Dodge Ram, I can’t quite fathom, but I suspect the word stupidity must have come up in the postmortem hearings quite often. Actually, Robert got off fairly lucky with only an elbow injury. Some lunatic from Chicago can now use both facilities in a two-hole outhouse at the same time. A passing bull gave him a second outlet. That is unfortunate really since he won’t be able to show his battle scar without risking an indecent exposure charge.

I suspect if you ask a Spaniard why anyone would want to try this brainless stunt, he would probably say the participants do it to test their courage. I don’t know that many Spaniards, but I notice they don’t make it a habit of running down Highway 400 on a Sunday evening in July. I suspect they don’t run at Pamplona at all. They just talk the gringos into doing it.

There is a fairly narrow line between courage and just being dumb. It’s a man thing. If it is the stupidest thing you ever heard of, then some man will have to do it. You ladies really wouldn’t understand, but it is important for us chaps to impress you by doing all sorts of brainless stunts. It’s much like you going to your hairdresser and spending 14 hours getting a perm them coming home and washing it out.

The whole bull thing is a throwback to when man was a cave person and had to win the hand of a woman by doing valiant deeds – like whacking a dinosaur with a rock. The problem today is men have so few places to test their courage here in Canada. We haven’t had a herd of bulls run down the main street for several weeks and I haven’t seen a dinosaur since the last time I visited the Senate.

It is a necessary part of the courtship ritual to win the heart of a fair damsel by showing her that you are willing to risk life and limb to win her hand – or whatever part you are interested in.

It is difficult to show the girl of your dreams (or your wife) that you are brave and manly. Fortunately I can suggest a few things that will impress her and won’t require a plane ticket to Spain or a reservation at Pamplona General.

Prove your manliness to your loved one by clever repartee. The next time your wife says, “How did you find my meat loaf?” Simply reply, “It was easy. I followed the smoke.” She will be ever so surprised and will appreciate your honesty. She’ll kill you of course, but she will certainly admire your courage.

When you come home and your wife is wearing a mudpack, say, “Yeah, I like that better.”

Another way that I find effective is to assert yourself. Don’t be wishy washy anymore. Tonight just stand up and announce, “I’m going out.” And when your missus says, “Will you take out the garbage on your way?” You say, “You cooked it. You take it out.” (I stole that line from an old Marx brother’s routine. It worked for Groucho. He was married 36 times and ended up in a mental institution – the logic escapes me.)

Just by saying these three witticisms you have proved your courage and yet have no bull holes in you. On the other hand you are probably lying in the Emergency ward with cuts and abrasions and a nurse is asking you how many fingers she’s holding up. But the point is, you have shown your wife how brave you are. Of course, you have also earned the right to sleep in the garage for the rest of the summer, but there is always a price to pay for being manly.

For instance, right now my wife is moving the lawn sprinkler and I am standing beside the water tap. Do I have the courage or don’t I?

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