The Great Plotnik

Friday, December 17, 2010

That Man Gene

The night before last was the annual Snowy Valley Voice Holiday Party. It was held at a local restaurant which was nice and small which always means the party is cramped and fun. And it was.

But then Plottie talked to two of his friends, who both moved out of Snowy Valley years ago, and who Plotnik rarely sees any other place than the summer party at World Headquarters and the Holiday Party. Their son is 19, and Plottie has known him since he was a little boy, before the parents divorced, before the boy had started growing into the man he is today.

Now he is 19 and he has just enlisted in the Army. He wants to go into combat. He wants to be a hero, he told his Dad, and he told his Mom he has always wanted to do this, despite all the warnings she gave him about it.

Ducknik has a harder time understanding this than Plotnik does. This guy gene thing -- inside of every man is the kernel of the warrior he is not. But even though our intellect and the way most of us choose to live steer us away from that kernel, it never goes away. That's why boys watch war movies and car chases and probably football games.

The brain (and the parents) say: Son! Are you nuts?

The heart says: When I get out I will be a man, and bulked up, and in a very different place than my slacker buddies who stay home and go to community college for a few years and then drop out. I will be in an equally different place than my other friends who go off to college, get out, scramble for a job and then settle in to something 'way less than they'd hoped for.

Plotnik fought against the military when he was of age, but it was easy -- there was a war going on. Later on he would have been scared out of his mind for three solid years of active duty if either of his children had decided to take this option.

His friends' boy will carry a weapon and train to kill people before they kill him, and recognize in a heartbeat, with a loaded gun, who is and who is not an enemy, and sometimes he'll be right and sometimes he'll be wrong. And even if he's right, some other young man, who is thinking right along with our friend, can guess rightly or wrongly and either way put a bullet in the wrong kid's head. There is no right kid with a bullet in his head.

And that is true here in Saint Plotniko too.

So when you say 'boys will be boys' you are right. There is a larger purpose after all, the sharpening of the species and all that. That doesn't make it good or right or moral or even sensible, but it does make it harder to resist than you might think.


At 7:19 AM, Blogger notthatlucas said...

I think Jesse is still getting calls from Marine recruiters, but I've got nothing to worry about. He's got my warrior instinct, which is to say, none at all.

I think the military can be a good option for some, but "to be a hero" as the reason is a bit frightening.

At 12:38 PM, Anonymous jj-aka-pp said...

Now I realize that this was not he main subject of this blot, but as a 28 year employee of an excellant Community College (also my Alma Mater!), I have to say a very loud "A,HEM" to your implied dig at a Community College education.

Stepping down from my, ahem, eh....cough, cough..

At 12:40 PM, Anonymous jj-aka-pp said...

Oh Great, and now there are typos in that blog...they don't show up in this tiny type...just when they are BLOWN up in the font on the left....when it is too late to change it. DO NOT let my typos reflect on my education! (Mearly my tiny typing capabilities)


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