Honoring men. Or not.

Me, in high school. Fifteen cent burgers. Cars with manual transmissions. Pay phones.

Me, in high school in the 1960s. I’ve witnessed some things that might have value for you.

We don’t honor men. That is one of our most profound problems as a nation.

Employers give men annual performance reviews. Once a year is enough to say thanks, or to ask, “What’s going on for you?” Or to say, sorry. Not enough from you.

I saw my doctor yesterday. His wonderful, impressive assistant aspires to attend medical school. A tremendous amount of scorn and rejection comes with that desire. He is a very, very, fine young man. It costs $100 to persuade admissions counselors to look at your admissions package. He applied to fifteen schools.

Many companies fire men. It has happened to me twice. They send a young, junior HR guy to hand you the message that you’re outa here. They frown a lot as they deliver the message.

We send promising young men to far away places to kill men we don’t know. And we don’t know the young men we send. Neither thing matters to us.

I had lunch today with a friend who itemized the problems the boys in her family are struggling with. The problems are profound. They will keep the boys occupied for decades.

I watched Paul Newman’s classic movie Nobody’s Fool yesterday. I could not stop the flow of tears. All of his pain was so profoundly familiar to me. The film was released in 1995. We have not learned anything from it.

Other marvelous films about male worthiness are Saturday Night Fever, Field of DreamsIt’s a Wonderful Life, African Queen, and Casablanca. There are many, many more. We learn slowly from these great treasures. I suggest you acknowledge our reluctance to learn. Speak out if that is your nature.

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