By the Menzoid
I have two theories when it comes to Heather Mallick’s bizarre, poison-penned attack on the male gender. One is that Heather Mallick is simply being sensational for the sake of sensationalism. If so, this is truly the cheapest form of journalism. It’s just way too easy. Any hack can pull that off. Pick a subject, any subject. How about, say, intergenerational marriage? Ergo, if a nine-year-old and a mature adult love one and other, who are we to get in the way of their consensual relationship?
See? Writing preposterous copy and passing it off as serious commentary just to generate “buzz” is strictly amateur hour.
I won’t bother dwelling on the odious double-standard inherent to Mallick’s rant. After all, replace the word “men” in her column with any other identifiable group – say, “blacks” or “Muslims” – and there’d be hell to pay. Exhibit A: Juan Williams.
Actually, what am I suggesting? A Heather Mallick temper tantrum painting any other identifiable group with the same brush due to the actions of a single person would never see the light of day in a bastion of contrived political correctness such as the Toronto Star.
So, I defer to Theory #2: Maybe – just maybe – Heather Mallick honestly believes she’s writing the truth. And maybe, like all good authors, Mallick is drawing upon personal experience.
If this is indeed the case, oh, how my heart goes out to Heather. Was her father truly that horrid during her formative years? Did she suffer from the unwanted advances of a creepy uncle? Was every male teacher a pompous chauvinist? Was every eligible bachelor a two-timing weasel? Is her current husband that detestable?
If so, what rotten, lousy luck. To continually meet one horrid, misogynistic man after another… it simply defies the odds. I mean, to constantly hook up with that tiny percentile of men who really do despise women is nothing short of awe-inducing bad karma.
As most rational people know full well, women tend to have fathers and brothers and uncles and husbands and teachers and mentors and sons and friends and colleagues who are, pardon the phrase, “nice guys.” They are not misogynists. They do not harbour rape fantasies. They don’t despise females.
On the contrary. They love women. They admire the nurturing, kind spirit that is inherent to motherhood. If such weren’t the case, I fear our species would be on the brink of extinction.
I never had a father in my life. But I did have a grandfather, at least until I was 13. My grandfather had immigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1946. Prior to that, he was on an extended five-year excursion, otherwise known as fighting the Nazis. It took a toll: I was told that when he left Glasgow at the start of World War Two, he had a full head of red hair. And when he returned, every single follicle on his scalp was whiter than ivory.
Although a qualified engineer, he was on the short end of the stick in terms of finding a job in Canada when he emigrated here thanks to his age and the influx of men returning home from overseas. The best he could manage was a foreman’s position at a garbage dump in Toronto’s west end. Ever the optimist, his continual refrain was, “The work’s dirty, but the money’s clean.”
Thanks to my grandfather, I remain burdened with a debt that can never be repaid. He instilled in me values ranging from loyalty and devotion to honour and civility. And he did so by example.
Indeed, one day, he gave me a life lesson that will forever remain etched in my cranium. I can’t remember the exact details, but as a know-nothing nine-year-old, I made a disparaging remark about a janitor.
My grandfather’s face went redder than tomatoes at harvest time. His eyes narrowed as he gently pulled me aside and told me in no uncertain terms that I was to never – as in NEVER – mock anyone for the job they were doing. Any legitimate job amounts to honest work, he stressed. And if anyone deserves to be mocked, it is the criminals and cheats who simply can’t be bothered working for a living.
There were many other lessons that he gave me in my 13 formative years. And, when necessary, there was discipline, too. He was a hybrid friend and benevolent dictator. And he was precisely what I needed at that time.
I think of other male role models I have encountered in my life – teachers, coaches, Boy Scout leaders. Like my grandfather, they, too, were guiding lights who inspired and motivated and taught me right from wrong. I guess I must be the luckiest guy on earth that I wasn’t continually coming into contact all those male monsters Heather Mallick says are lurking everywhere.
In Mallick’s world, I suppose my grandfather’s death at the age of 65 – barely four months into his retirement – is something to celebrate. One less male in the world, after all; one less “potential rapist” or “serial killer” for Mallick and her ilk to worry about.
But I can assure you that everyone who knew my grandfather mourned his passing, male and female alike. In this respect, he was no different from millions of men around the world: he was a hard-working breadwinner who, despite being dealt a lousy hand in the game of life, nevertheless “manned up” (pardon the language.) He didn’t complain; he didn’t whine; and he certainly didn’t harbour urges of violent rage toward women or anyone else.
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The other day, I was having dinner with my two young sons. We talked about what time period we’d visit if there really was such a thing as a time machine. Sean said he’d want to go back several centuries to the days of knights in shining armour, basically to see if there really were dragons on the planet.
My other son, Adam, said he’d set the coordinates for 120 million years ago, so that he could explore the Jurassic Era and witness firsthand the enormous dinosaurs that exist today only as fossils in museums.
I’m afraid my choice of time period was far less flamboyant. You see, I told my sons that if I could alter the time/space continuum, I’d want to go back to June, 1975, just days before my grandfather died of a massive heart attack. And I’d want to go back to this point in time in order to carry out one simple task: to tell my grandfather how much I loved him.