Developing Sensitivity

Here's a special blog for the men from Oz, the Land Down Under. I've heard through various sources how emotionally retarded you fellows are. Many times I've heard your countrywomen, I believe you call them Sheilas, refer to you as Bogans.

The dictionary clarifies this:

“ Bogan: a person, generally from an outer suburb of a city or town and from a lower socio-economic background, viewed as uncultured.”

— Oxford Dictionary

Because Mary, my wife and I intend to winter yearly Down Under during your summer, I, actually Mary, needs me to rectify this issue immediately. I'm going to hit you fellas with a double whammy; reading material combined with a multiple choice quiz. I'll break up the material for those of you with minimal attention capabilities.We'll start with the read: It's from my autobiography.

Listen up, mates! Get some beer, this is a long but important lesson.

Developing Sensitivity

“He who knows nothing loves nothing. He who can do nothing understands nothing. He who understands nothing is worthless. But he who understands also loves, notices, sees…The more knowledge inherent in a thing, the greater the love.” Paracelsus

Although I had achieved mostly A’s in my college classes, and spent many hours studying for the exams, I was clueless about what was appropriate to offer a woman in a relationship at an emotional level. I comfortably embraced this naiveté from the time I started dating, rarely did I want to delve into the man/woman relationship any deeper. It was the same type of intellectual disinterest I’d noticed in my dad when I'd asked him a question one day during my high school days.

“Could you recommend any classes for me to take in high school that will help me prepare for college?’ I asked him.

“Nope,” he replied, and there was no further discussion.

Evidently, there are some things a mind doesn’t want to probe deeply into and becoming cognizant of your partner’s wants and needs were things my brain didn’t want to worry or wonder about. Early on I can explain away this emotional deficit because of my age; I was too young, many dudes in their twenties are clueless.

However, as my mind developed and disciplined my intellect, I still never bothered to remedy this emotional deficit. It was probably because I grew up watching Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford movies where a man’s actions were what defined him. In these films, it was important to talk as little as possible. Thinking and talking about thinking were weaknesses. A man just did things, the chicks liked it, and the world was perfect. Period. Ah, the good old days! This was my relationship goal, to recapture the Hollywood grandeur of the man-woman bond. Well, that’s my story….

Break #1: Take a swig, then answer a few multiple choice questions regarding Aussie manners.

Back to vet school memories. (This is the disclosure part. The learning part is lower.)

Although I was living with Martha, my fidelity was questionable more than a few times. I had no idea what fidelity was, nor did I feel a need to find it. It never bothered me as I thought my dalliances were minor and didn't impact our relationship. I lived with this blindness for years.

My brother Rick came down from South Lake Tahoe for a visit in spring 1980. He needed warmth and sunshine. He was so tired of the cold and dark up in the mountains the first thing he did when he arrived was to throw himself on the green lawn, luxuriating in the warm spring sunshine.

“I need to get back to class, Rick,” I told him.

“Do you have any beer, Jim?”

“No, but you can take some wine from this five-gallon jug in the garage. Just replace the water lock cork on top, it’s still fermenting.”

He followed me to the garage as I pointed out which carafe had the best wine.

“What’s this?” He asked, spying a metal cylinder that looked like an over-sized scuba air tank. It was painted blue, was about five and a half feet tall and weighed almost a hundred pounds when full.

“It’s nitrous oxide, laughing gas. Our housemate John is a dentist. He’s collecting equipment to open his own office.”

I worried I was going to be late. “Do you need anything else? I need to get going.”

“No, see you later.”

“Come over to the VMTH at five,” I told him. “Every Friday we have TGIF, free beer for an hour or so. We can catch up then.”

“Okay, do you still have your record collection? Can I listen to your stereo?”

“Sure, see you later.”

Rick appeared a little after five o’clock with a big goose egg bump on his forehead and a tear in the skin of his lower lip.

“What the hell happened to you?” I asked.

“I was buzzing out on the Moody Blues with the gas you have, but the high only lasts a minute, did you know?”

“I guess," I hadn’t explored all the options nitrous offered. I assumed I would ask John for tips if I needed to use it.

“Well I got tired of running back and forth into the garage, so I dragged the cylinder in the house.”

“Were you careful dragging it through the kitchen” You didn’t tear the linoleum, did you?”

“No man!” Rick was prone to slipping into radical defense prematurely. He was the youngest boy for many years until Tim came. “I rolled the cylinder across the kitchen, I didn’t drag it, and I set it up in the living room next to the bean bag chair.”