went to the moon, but guys invented mooning
Guys have played an important role in history, but this role has not
been given the attention it deserves, because nobody wrote it down.
Guys are not conscientious about writing. Take thank-you notes. When
a couple gets married, the bride very quickly - sometimes right after
her new husband passes out in their honeymoon-suite hot tub-starts composing
personalized notes thanking their wedding guests for all the lovely
gifts (". . . I didn't know they even made a traveling case for the
The bride will keep this up until she has written every single guest;
if it was a really big wedding, she may still be thanking people after
her divorce ("Aunt Esther, the meat fork is beautiful, and I expect
to get many happy years of use from it once the surgeons extract it
from Roger"). Very few guys write thank-you notes, or any other kind
of note. Guys would probably commit a lot more kidnappings if they weren't
required to write ransom notes.
My point is that, because guys don't write things down, they are not
well represented in the history books. You'll find countless references
to men, however, because men like to record every detail of their lives,
for posterity. Alexander the Great, for example, kept a diary, so that
today we can read, in his own handwriting, exactly what he was doing
on any given day, as is shown by these actual excerpts:
327 B.C., Nov. 4 - Cloudy today. Conquered Asia Minor.
324 B.C., Jan. 6 - Note: Find out what "B.C." stands for.
323 B.C., May 17 - Died at an early age.
But what about the average guy in Alexander the Great's army? What about
his contributions to history? Yes, it is important that Alexander extended
the influence of such legendary Greek philosophers as Aristotle throughout
most of the civilized world, thus significantly affecting the development
of Western thought and culture to this very day; but is it not also
important that, at the same time, some of his lowly foot soldiers were
perfecting the Rubber Spear Trick, or determining that the letters in
"Aristotle" can be rearranged to spell "A Tit Loser"?
That is the kind of historical guy accomplishment I'm going to explore
in this chapter, starting with a discussion of:
Prehistory was a very difficult time for humans. Hostile, vicious, person-eating
predators roamed the Earth. Disease was rampant. Mortality rates were
horrific. The automatic bank teller was still only a dream. Back then
the clan was the basic unit of society, with the roles of males and
females clearly defined. The females cared for
the young and gathered roots, which they would soak in water, then
peel, then painstakingly pound for hours between two heavy rocks, and
finally throw away.
"We may be primitive, but we're not stupid enough to eat roots," was
Thus the basic food-gathering responsibility fell on the shoulders of
the males, who would go off for days at a time to hunt the mighty dinosaur.
This was hard work. They had to dig an enormous deep hole, then disguise
it by covering it with frail branches, then hide in the bushes, waiting
for a mighty dinosaur to come along and fall into the trap. The hunters
often waited for long periods, because, unbeknownst to them, dinosaurs
had become extinct several million years earlier.
So the males sat around a lot. Some of them eventually became fidgety
and went on to develop agriculture, invent primitive tools, etc. But
some males-these were the original guys-really liked sitting around.
Eventually they stopped bothering to dig the hole. They'd just go out
into the woods and sit.
"It's not easy, trying to catch dinosaurs," they would tell people,
especially their wives. "But if we don't do it, who will?"
Sometimes they would also use a false beard or the stone Weed Whacker.
They never helped with the roots. Sitting around for no reason under
the guise of being engaged in productive work was the first real guy
contribution to human civilization, forming the underlying basis for
many modern institutions and activities such as fishing, sales conferences,
highway repair, the federal government, and "Customer Service."
This is not to say that prehistoric guys did nothing but sit around.
They also invented an activity that has become one of the most dominant
forms of guy behavior, now accounting for an estimated 178 trillion
guy-hours per year in the United States alone. The activity I am referring
to, of course, is guys scratching their personal regions. And when I
say "scratching," I am not talking about a couple of quick, discreet
swipes with the fingernails to relieve a momentary itch. I'm talking
about an activity that guys spend way more time and energy on than they
do on, for example, home maintenance.
Walk around any populated area and you'll see dozens, maybe hundreds,
of guys engaged in scratching themselves. Some will try to be subtle,
but usually once they get going they completely lose track of where
Before long they're rooting around in their pants using both hands,
garden implements, etc., totally oblivious to the world around them.
This can lead to trouble.
First mate on the Titanic: "Sir, don't you think we should do something
about it? Maybe change direction? Sir? Sir?"
Captain: (. . . scratchscratchscratchscratchscratchscratch . . .)
One time in the 1970s I was watching a Philadelphia Phillies game on
television, and at a key moment the Phillies' manager, Danny Ozark (who
looked exactly like a guy named "Danny Ozark") walked to the pitcher's
mound for a conference. Danny had his back to the camera, and his right
hand, seemingly acting on its own, sort of moseyed around to his rear-end
region and started exploring, really probing, looking as though maybe
Danny had lost some vital documents in there. The hand became so energetic
that finally even the TV announcers had to start laughing. This was
a guy in the middle of a baseball stadium and on TV, with the game at
a critical juncture, and still his number-one priority was scratching
himself. He was a guy's guy, that Danny Ozark.
© 2006 Dave Barry
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