I've just staggered through the valley of the shadow of death,
sneezing and gasping and coughing. I've had the worst cold in
the history of RBC (Really Bad Colds).
My wife had one at the same time, but any impartial observer
could tell mine was much more serious because I cried out so
much more than she did. I'm not over it yet.
"Call the children," I cry out. "Call 911. I can't breathe."
"Don't be such a pantywaist," she says, handing me the Kleenex.
"I'd tell you to act like a man but I'm afraid that's how
you're acting already."
I give her a rational argument and she makes sexist jokes.
"Read this," she says, pointing to a story in the newspaper.
"It'll get your mind off the problems you're having now."
The AP story tells me that "men may lose their verbal abilities
faster than women as they age." Some researchers at the University
of Pennsylvania, who should have better things to do like finding
a cure for RBC, say that men's brains deteriorate two or three
times faster than women's because "female sex hormones may protect
the brain from atrophy associated with aging."
"I don't believe that," I say. "It's just more feminist propaganda."
"You don't believe it because you're male and you're aging," she
says. "Your brain is atrophying because your hormones aren't female."
"I take that as a compliment," I say.
"There he goes," she says to the dog. "I tell him he's getting
senile because of his male hormones and he's so hung up on his
sexual insecurities he takes it as a compliment."
The dog growls because he's male too, although his hormone level
dropped off the charts after the vet fixed him.
"Everybody knows," I say, drawing myself up to my full male grandeur
and sneezing, "that men, to say nothing of our superior physical
strength, are intellectually tougher and spiritually nobler than
the weaker sex. Read 'Paradise Lost.' Milton understood. Milton was a man."
"There he goes again," she says to the dog. "As a male, he thinks
he's refuted modern science with a 324-year-old poem that doesn't
even rhyme. Then he tries to validate the opinion by saying it
comes, from the gender that science says is more susceptible to
brain atrophy. Go figure."
This time, the dog grins.
"What are you grinning at?" I say. "Have you no loyalty to your own sex?"
"He's been fixed," my wife says. "He's seen things much more clearly
since he's been fixed. And notice the language there. When we say a
thing's been fixed, the implication is that there was something wrong
with it before."
"There wasn't anything wrong with that dog before we had him fixed,"
I say, crossing my legs. "At least nothing that got fixed by having
The Truth, Mainly
"You still don't get it, do you?" she says. "He was as full of male
hormones as George Bush's foreign policy. And they were making him
just as goofy. So we got him fixed. He's a better dog for it. And his
brain won't atrophy as soon now."
"Ah hah!" I say. "Your female illogic has betrayed you again. The
researchers don't say male hormones cause the brain to atrophy. They
merely say that female hormones protect the brain from atrophy.
Ah hah! Milton was right."
"Then maybe you should start taking estrogen pills," she says. "Do
you suppose they'd smart up your testosterone? Or would your testosterone
dumb down the estrogen?"
"I'm not going to dignify that with an answer," I say. "And I'm sure
not going to start taking estrogen pills. Next thing you know I'd be
riding a girl's bicycle."
"Ever since I've known you, you've worried about riding a girl's bicycle,
haven't you?" she says. "But I've never worried about riding a boy's
bicycle, have I? Why do you suppose that's so?"
"Ah hah!" I say. "It's clear, at least to the masculine mind, that you
have a subconscious desire to be a boy, so of course you aren't repelled
by the idea of riding a boy's bike. You're even subconsciously attracted
to it. It's called boy's bike envy and many females have it. I, on the
other hand, am quite comfortable in my male identity and you couldn't get
me on a girl's bike for anything. I'm certain of that."
"Certainty suggests mental inflexibility," she says. "And it's one small
step for mankind from mental inflexibility to atrophy of the brain."
I sputter. I open my mouth to speak but nothing comes. I seem to have a
temporary loss of my massive male verbal abilities. I cough. I sneeze.
I cry out.
Satterfield is a college professor and writes as a means of discovery.