The men’s locker room at the local Y is the pond from which I draw the water of life according to at least some men. It comes mostly in the form of overheard snippets of conversation. Guns have been a popular topic of late, or more particularly, the packing of side arms. Today’s snippet: “Do you pack?” “Oh yeah, all the time, never go anywhere without it.”
From what I can tell there are three types of men who pack. For some it is a part of their job or way of life. They don’t think about it much one way or the other. It’s just a tool they carry, know how to use, but seldom do except for practice.
A second type has been frightened into believing that there is a robber, armed intruder, rapist, or terrorist around every corner and behind every bush. To me they seem awfully gullible and a little unstable. Barney Fife was a comical version, but they are the real thing.
A third talks tough, and believes that his ‘piece’ is a sign of his masculinity. He is almost hopeful that someone will challenge him so that he can draw, and at least threaten if not fire. He fantasizes about saving others cowering from the terrorist who has invaded Home Depot or Walmart. Dirty Harry is his hero.
My offhand guess is that two of these types are not the sort of men you would want to count on in difficult circumstances. They appear to lack the maturity, self assurance, composure, and good judgment to be reliable. Other overheard snippets of conversation from the same men reinforce that thought because they tend in the direction juvenile humor; aggressive talk about their favorite teams as if accomplishments on the field were their own; the joys of asserting authority over kids, spouses, employees, etc.; and Fox news inspired world views. Oddly enough, some of them claim to be Christian. I don’t know how many of them are walking around, but I wonder when one of them is going to start blasting away.
Don’t get me wrong. The men’s locker room at the Y is not filled with these characters. It’s just that they tend to be the loudest and most easily overheard.