Feelings - Nothing Worse than Feelings


OPINION — Life is fraught with difficult questions. Why is a nickel bigger than a dime? Why does Hawaii have an interstate highway? Why are hot dogs sold in packages of ten while hot dog buns are sold in packages of eight? What does ‘fraught’ mean, anyway? Is it even a word?

And these aren’t even the most perplexing conundrums we face in life. Why did the Beatles replace Peter Best, an excellent drummer, with Ringo Starr, who was mediocre at best? If you waste time on purpose, is it really wasted? Why did Robin Ventura charge the mound on Nolan Ryan in 1993 after Ryan hit him with a pitch, when it was obviously old school retaliation for White Sox pitcher Alex Fernandez hitting Ranger Juan Gonzalez earlier in the game?

Why does Hawaii have an interstate highway?

Why does Hawaii have an interstate highway?

Actually, that last one is probably not so confusing. Pro ballplayers are extremely competitive, and guys being guys, things can get out of hand pretty quickly. Ryan couldn’t let Fernandez get away with hitting Gonzalez with a pitch without retaliation, and Ventura couldn’t let Ryan get away with hitting him on purpose. It didn’t work out so well for Ventura, although he did make history as the only player ever to get six hits off Ryan in one inning.

Now, if Ryan and Ventura had been women, it’s likely Ryan wouldn’t’ve hit Ventura in the first place, and if he (she) had, Ventura probably wouldn’t’ve charged the mound, and there would never have been a fight that emptied the dugouts and stopped the game for several minutes. Because women are different from men. At least, they were back when I was a little girl.

Why did Robin Ventura charge the mound on Nolan Ryan in 1993 after Ryan hit him with a pitch?

Why did Robin Ventura charge the mound on Nolan Ryan in 1993 after Ryan hit him with a pitch?

That’s more or less debatable these days, though. For example, a guy who calls himself ‘meatball times’ on Twitter (now X) posted a tweetie recently that kind of makes you wonder what the world is coming to. It also makes you not really want to know what the world is coming to.

In part, meatball said ‘I’ve been feeling very under-nourished in my male friendships recently. I think there is something just kind of wrong with the default mode of male socialization/communication, something men aren’t taught about relating to people.’ Mr. meatball goes on to relate the incident that provided the catalyst for a lengthy castigation of his friends in particular and men in general.

It seems meatball was visiting his friend of 15 years, who was the best man at his wedding, and told this friend about two other friends, one who had been through a suicidal episode, and another who had lied about having cancer for two years. Mr. meatball ended up crying on best man’s couch. Which is already weird enough to make me wonder if any of it is true.

But meatball’s complaint was about his best man friend’s response. Best man friend said, ‘Dude, I’m sorry, that’s crazy. What topping do you want on your pizza?’ And then meatball went on and on and on about how best man friend’s response was dismissive of his feelings. He asked his Twitter audience, ‘Could you imagine literally any woman doing this?’\r\r

Now, I took a counseling class at college several years ago, and even watched Brene Brown’s Ted Talk about vulnerability, or something, so I’m obviously qualified to analyze this situation and respond to meatball. I’ll just break this thing down for you.

First, it’s not the job of your male friends to ‘nourish’ you. Matter of fact, if one of my friends told me I was nourishing him, he wouldn’t be my friend anymore. I’d keep me some distance there. The purpose of your male friends is to try to get you to smell things that stink to watch your reaction, and make fun of you when you do something painful. Like trip and fall, or post stupid things to social media.

Second, it’s not OK for a guy to go to another guy’s house and cry on his couch, unless one of his favorite body parts has just been broken off, like an arm, or his pro ball team has just lost a major playoff game. No guy should have to put up with that kind of wimphood. Go home if you’re going to cry. Better yet, suck it up, buttercup. Life’s not fair.

Third, and this is key, if you absolutely have to burden a friend with some majorly depressing information, you don’t do it while he’s trying to order a pizza. For goodness sake, get your priorities straight. That downer stuff can wait until after supper, or preferably until after the Browns win the Super Bowl. You don’t drag that mess out while toppings are being considered.

Guys don’t talk about their feelings. As far as I can tell guys don’t even have feelings. Telling your friend you’re depressed doesn’t make you feel better, it just makes your friend depressed, too. I mean, it would, if he were to listen to you, which he probably doesn’t, especially if you cry on his couch.

Maybe I’ll feel better if I go look up what ‘fraught’ means . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and minister who didn’t pay attention in his counseling class. Write to him at [email protected]

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