Short Story – Shorten Up Ricky

Photo by Kevin Jarrett on Unsplash


“Oksana asked me what Haka meant,” said Oddie,  “So I gave her my best version of it.”

On his first day Ricky had seen the word in black marker on the back of Oddie’s hard hat but figured it was his last name or something.  That was when he hadn’t asked questions because he feared it would only have shown how little he knew.

“What is Haka?”  asked Ricky.

“It’s the warrior dance the All Blacks do before each game.”

“Who are the All Blacks?”

“New Zealand’s national rugby team.  Watch this,” says Oddie as he stands right in front of Ricky and starts slapping his forearms as he squats and shouts with his tongue out.  

“What the fuck … are you two love birds talking about now?” asked Gerry the supervisor out of breath.

“Nothin,” said Ricky. 

“What in the world could possibly motivate you to get out of your truck and climb that ladder?” said Oddie.

“Sandoval is coming later today,”  said Gerry, feeling awkward talking about the boss to the boss’s son.  “He hates a messy job site and he will yell at me saying the minister of labour is just around the corner …”

“The Minister?” said Oddie.

“Yes the fn’ Minister of Labour is comin down here to find us,”  said Gerry.

“Fine us,” said Ricky, the boss’s derelict son.

“Fine,” said Gerry.

“Ok we’ll clean up your job site Gerr Bear,” said Oddie.

“Now,” said Gerry.

Sandoval got his start in Quebec 30 years ago renovating apartments when the tenants moved out so the owners could jack up the rent.  To avoid the unions in Quebec he brought his guys to Ontario.  Two of his best men, Rejean and Frederick, were machines 20 years ago.   They had forgotten more about how to build a house than these young guns would ever know.  Frederick became a supervisor years ago but Rejean had framed himself into a corner.  He told himself he couldn’t do anything else. 

“Tabernac, Jerrie.   Kick doze feckin punks inta gear.” said Rejean.

“Relax, Jean.  I got em cleanin up the job site.  Nothin you need to sweat your little French balls about,” said Gerry.  

Gerry found himself squeezed between this wrinkled and weary red seal swearing at him in French and these newbie cowboys knocking in nails as they gabbed about energy.  Oddie could see Gerry stressing because he didn’t have skills to get the team to work together.  Oddie loved sitting back and watching Gerry squirm. 

Strapping on their tool belts after tidying up the job site, Oddie wondered,

‘Why is it that some people are just so easy to make fun of?’ 

“Ok Gerry-atric,’  Oddie yelled down to Gerry, “Looks real cute your job site.”  

“If by cute you mean tidy then get back to building my fuckin house,” said Gerry.

“He’s not coming,” said Ricky.  

It took Oddie a few seconds to realize that Ricky was referring to his dad; the boss, Sandoval.  Ricky obviously had the inside scoop.  Oddie inched a 2 by 4 stud until it was on centre with slow taps of the side of his hammer trying to think of something to ask.

“It’s Tuesday.  We won’t see him till Thursday.  Chill,” said Ricky.  Seeing Gerry leaning on his truck, checking his phone and pulling on his e-cigarette he said “It’s like watching a rat in a lab experiment.”

“Bro, who are you tryin to kid.  Ya gotta shorten up on the handle so it will be easier to get the nail in the middle of the block.  Shorten up,” repeats Oddie.  “You never played baseball as a kid?”

Ricky purses his lips.

“Fuck,” said Oddie. “Gimme that thing.  With all your money you couldn’t get yourself a real hammer.  Who made this thing? Fischer-Price?  Watch me; it’s like this.”  Oddie shows Ricky and Ricky gets the hang of it. 

“That’s better.  Now you only look like a spaztic rookie instead of a complete moron,” said Oddie.  

Oddie does anything complicated and Ricky works around Oddie.  Oddie is the only one who isn’t afraid to whip Ricky into shape:  

“Ricky don’t be picky – grab a couple of those lovely 2 by 4’s and let’s frame the shit outta this wall.” 

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph Ricky.  That’s not how I taught you to put in the blocking.  You’re makin me look bad.”

“Ricky, you don’t have to advertise you’re a rookie.  We already know.”

Ricky was still slick; hair coiffed down to the nanometre.  But now his boots were nicked and scuffed; the leather on his tool belt was softening up and wrinkling.  His posture was strong; his gait potent.

“Who is Oshkania again?” asked Ricky.

“Oksana.   She’s Tali’s girlfriend.  He says she’s his fiance but I haven’t seen any rings yet.  Anyway, Saturday morning she has a Zoom call about intention. with this group of people all over the world who are into well-being.  You know, healthy living.  What they do is they take turns sending each other good vibes.  And apparently it cures people of diseases and other shit,” Oddie loved having an audience.

“Whaddya mean intention?”

“Intention.  It’s something you want.  Something you want to happen.  Something you want to be in the world,” said Oddie.

“What have they cured?”

“I think she said cancer but I find that hard to believe.”

“Cancer?!  What… what’s her group called,” asked Ricky.  Oddie feigned needing to pick up a block and looked over at Ricky who, for the first time, was radiating confidence.  And purpose.

“I don’t know bro.  But I’ll get that for ya,” said Oddie.

Oddie can see Ricky is just here till the waters calm between him and his family and he will move on to whatever project his father’s money can finance.  In the meantime Oddie is a whole golf bag of services to the little prince;  Oddie is the 3 wood of focus; the 7 iron of curiosity; the sand wedge of problem solving; the pitching wedge of nuance; the putter of belief.  

“Where’s Reggie?”  asked Ricky.

“You know you came along just in the nick of time.  Reggie’s knees went a few years ago.  Now his wrists are so shot to shit he really shouldn’t even be working.  He has to take a couple of days off sometimes.  So that would mean I would have to work with Rejean over there.  You saved me from a long slow death.”   

“What’s wrong with working with him?” asked Ricky reeling with the realization that his privileged upbringing was financed on the backs of these guys.

“I dunno.  It’s just that he is so out of touch and out of shape,” said Oddie, hiking up his jeans.  

Oddie could feel he was getting soft because everyday after work he would step up into Ricky’s Rubicon after putting his lunch cooler on the back seat.  Now Ricky gives him a lift home when at first it used to be just to the subway.

At the traffic light a woman in cat eye sunglasses pulled up beside them in a yellow Jeep Wrangler.  Ricky gave a casual three finger Jeep wave; she waved back.  Oddie pushed his sunglasses down his nose to get a better look.  

“Bro ….”  Oddie loved this.

The yellow Jeep sped ahead while Ricky shifted into second on his own time.  

“What kind of name is Oddie anyway?”

Shorten Up Ricky is from the Short Story Series – Tool by Kevin McNamara  

Short Story – Your Bro Moe

Photo by Ali Mahmoudi on Unsplash

“What the hell?” said Moe under his breath as the mall bench shook.  He was ready to kick into survival gear thinking it might be an earthquake.

The guy on Moe’s left glanced at him; at his phone and back at Moe.  

Realizing what happened Alex said, “Bro.  Sorry.”  Alex showed his cell phone screen to his bench neighbour.   “I just couldn’t help it.  Robin Williams man.  He is crazy funny,” said Alex explaining how when he laughed so much he made their bench shake.

“Comedy.  That’s some of the best therapy there is,” said Moe

“Amen to that bro,” agreed Alex.

“Oh, boy!  Hnhn,” Moe laughed despite himself.

Alex had asked him why he was sitting on a mall bench waiting for his wife to appear laden with shopping bags.  

“When my wife found out I had a second Instagram account she freaked.  So here I am paying for it.” 

“How’d she find out?” asked Alex.

‘My 6 year old daughter has a friend whose dad followed one of the accounts I followed and somehow the 2 girls outed their dads.”

“What happened to the other guy?”

“Dunno.”

They both swallowed the loneliness of being in a place with thousands of people yet feeling alone.  Seeking community Alex asked;

“What’s all the fuss about shopping anyway?”  

“I hate shopping,” said Moe as the elevator music played Dua Lipa.

“What is it about shopping malls; they just suck the energy right out of me?”

Ya, I know what you mean.”

 “Usually I can swing it so I only have to drop them off and pick them up,” said Alex.

“I look forward to that day.”

“Hey man, I’m Moe.”

“Nice to meet you, I’m Alex.”

After their fist bump it felt weird to meet someone when you are sitting down.

“What do you do for a living Alex?”

“I’m a carpenter.  I’m up for my red seal in a few months.  How about you?”

“I’m in sales for a loading dock systems company,” said Moe.

“Very cool.”

“It keeps me outta trouble.”

“So do you do any of those huge Amazon distribution centres?” asked Alex.

“Ya,”  paused Moe, breathing life into the doubt that blocked the sun out of his life.  “I put in a bid a few months ago and they should be deciding.  Any day now.”   

In life there are beautiful pauses.  Like, just before he says, ‘Will you marry me?’ as he is on one knee outside the restaurant.  This pause wasn’t beautiful; it felt like it was filled with itchy scratchy fibreglass insulation. 

“How did you get into dock systems?” asked Alex.

“I hurt my back framing and couldn’t do physical work anymore.”

“You didn’t want to continue in construction?”

“You know I did but my wife kiboshed that,” said Moe.

“Hmm,” Alex looked at the shiny floor between his boots.

“Ya, I know.  Sounds pathetic,” said Moe.

“I didn’t say …”

“She was right.”

“What …?”

“Carrie, my wife, said, I can remember it vividly.  She was standing sideways at the stove. She moved the chicken in the frying pan with the wooden spoon and said,” remembered Moe.  “You have two tasks: the first is to get off the painkillers.  The second is to get a job that pays.”

“Shit,” said Alex looking at the floor and then at Moe who was looking up at the ceiling.

“She was right.  Again.  I had been shafted too many times by general contractors.  And I was hooked on codeine”

“So, whadya do?” said Alex.

“I got the pills from my truck, under my shirts in the bottom dresser drawer and the bathroom and poured them all down the kitchen sink as Carrie watched me.  Then, I turned on the fan over the stove as she cooked the chicken and gave her a kiss.”

“Bro.”

“Sorry man.  I shouldn’t have vomited my crazy life story.  You’re gonna think I’m a…,”

“I can think for myself,’ said Alex.  “So you stayed off the painkillers?”

“Ya know I did.  I have.”

“How long ago was that?”

“Like 5 years.  Hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Moe.  “But ya know what I miss the most?  Talking smack on the job site.  And the smells, believe it or not.”

You mean the sweet smell when you saw a piece a lumber.  Or the porta potty?” asked Alex.

“Ya right!  Nothing like the fragrance of a portapotty that has been on the site for a week baking in the August heat,” joked Moe.  “But with two young children ya gotta do what ya gotta do.”

“I hear ya bro,” said Alex.

“So how long till you get your Red Seal?”

“By the end of the year I’d say.”

“Cool.  What keeps you motivated to keep going?” asked Moe.

Alex was getting a little weirded out by how quickly Moe could get so personal.

“Same as you.  Family,”  said Alex.

“But what’s in it for you?”

“I love my family bro.  It gives me satisfaction to provide for them” said Alex 

“I believe you 100 percent.  The thing is your life can pass you by and you didn’t live it.”

Moe had touched a nerve in Alex.

“Ya know who you remind me of bro?” said Alex detouring the conversation.

“Who?” said Moe.

The sailor in that poem Ancient Mariner.”

“I thought you were gonna say someone like Mike Holmes.  Who the fuck is the ancient mariner?”

“He’s the wrinkled old man who stops the young people arriving at a wedding.  He needs to tell them his story.  Check it out,”  said Alex.

“I’ll Google it,”  said Moe.  “But that’s a bit of a weird reference,” he said as he was used to a different reaction to his desire to help.

“Hey man, it was grade 11 English class.  Mrs. Downs.  Great teacher,” said Alex.

“Nice to meet bro, take care,’ said Alex as Moe saw his wife come out of the store with children and shopping bags.  ‘You’re a bit of a weird random guy I talked to in the mall’  thought Alex as he watched Moe walk away.

Alex had related the conversation with Moe to Rebecca, his wife, as they were on the drive home from the mall.  As he was merging onto the highway Rebecca asked him,

“So. Is your life passing you by?”  

Phillips: A Short Story from The Tool Series

Photo by Maxim Shklyaev on Unsplash


Where’s Debbie?” asked Tim.

“She went in the house to talk to your mom,” said Oscar Phillips. “Hey, I heard you had a new girlfriend.” 

“Yep.”

“Is she coming?”

“No, Trish had to work.  She’s a nurse.” 

Tim leaned against the workbench and picked at a scab on his index finger.  Oscar sat on the chopper with the sparkling silver gas tank.  Everyone, including Oscar, knew the theme of this family barbecue was to offer him a hand up as he lurched in the quicksand of depression. The radio effortlessly played classic rock; Spirit of the West ushered in the moment. Spirit Of The West “Home For A Rest” – Official Music Video

“So, did Debbie bring home any boyfriends.  To do the meet-the-parents thing?” asked Oscar instantly regretting using air quotes. 

“I remember one guy.   He was really smart, tall and polite.  Debbie was still in college but he was working a full time job.  He had a pick up.  My Mom didn’t like him.  Dad did.”  Oscar straightened his back and bent his neck to crack it.  Oscar feared Tim’s dad Stan. 

“Debbie is like, 10 years older than you?” said Oscar.  

“Yes, 10 years and 8 months apart.  In school Debbie always had a part time job.  I saw her on weekends.  Kind of like visitation rights with your own sister while living in the same house. Basically we grew up in two different families with the same parents.  Debbie was before the accident.”

“Right,” said Oscar.

“She wasn’t perfect or anything but she didn’t cause my parents so many headaches like me.  We never really had any big brother-sister fights.  Never lit the kitchen on fire heating the pizza box in the oven or anything like that”

“Right,” said Oscar.  

His shoulders deflated in a whatever surrender. Depression is usurping his mojo.  It’s a pesky grinding of his tectonic plates causing landslides of conflict between him and Debbie.    

Tim took in the Oscar’s theatre in response to his question.

“What the fuck do you want me to do,” Oscar imitates an exasperated Debbie.

Then nodding to Tim.  “And you know Debbie never swears.”

“So …?” 

“So what?”

“So bro,what … do you want Debbie … to do?” asks Tim.

“I don’t know what I want to do,”  Oscar throws his arms open.  “So how the fuck can I tell her what to do?”

“Dude.  Fake it till you make it.  Ya know, tell ‘em you wanna buy a house.  Or have children.   Or to go for that promotion.”

“What promotion?”  Oscar needed to know.

“I am making it up.  It doesn’t fuckin matter.  They just need to hear that you are the man. They need you to make them feel they made the right decision bro.”  

Tim and Oscar nodded as they sipped their beers.

“Sorry man,”  Tim tried to redirect the heavy silence that was weighing them down,  “I’m just tryin to help.”

‘This family therapy gig is getting old quick,’ Tim thought during yet another awkward pause.  Oscar kept himself busy by thinking, ‘I just need to keep the conversation going.’  But he couldn’t find anything to say so the bottom fell out of the conversation again.  Tim turned around to face the workbench and grabbed a long, red handled Phillips screwdriver.  He spun it in the air, caught it and turned back and looked at Oscar.

“Look bro ….”

Oscar looked at him.

“It has everything to do with you and nothing to do with you all at the same time,”  Tim pointed the red screwdriver handle at Oscar.

As Oscar’s soul mined him for traction, he heard his instinct, ‘Reflect.’

Like a witch Tim says,

“Listen bro, you just need to reflect on, you know, the situation.  But, you have to fuckin swear you will not sit there and stew in your own regret.   You cannot, cannot mire yourself in your own, you know, bullshit.”  

Like the open garage door, Oscar gaped.  Tim was proud of how he used the word mired.  He had never used it before.

“Dude, I can see why Debbie is so frustrated.  Your mojo, your fuckin chi!” Tim extended his neck at Oscar, “Has been sucked out of you like you were a cherry freezie on a hot summer day.  Know what I mean?” 

“If I don’t, Debbie does.  And she isn’t shy about telling me. Daily,” said Oscar.

“Is she right, daily?”

“Is this a yes or no question?”

“Yes.”

“Yes. I mean, sure we had all those immature marital squabbles cuz our parents didn’t orient us about marriage.  I know now that’s nothing personal.  But now we are a fuckin tsunami of feces even before we wake up.  We don’t talk, we argue.  We don’t speak, we yell.  We don’t love, we dread.  It’s real.  It’s horrible.  I want to fix it,” said Oscar with the humility of a porcupine before a gale force wind.   His own words stood him up from the motorbike.  Tim was impressed.  Oscar looked at himself standing as if he just woke from a dream.  He sat back on the motorbike.

Bobcageon by The Tragically Hip reminded the radio of younger times. 

Oscar and Debbie lived in a condo downtown Toronto.  Having recoiled from most of their relationships, Oscar squats at home all day coding; becoming paler, losing valuable hair and gaining stupid pounds so he can be a better punching bag for depression.

His man cave was either: early morning concrete coffee cross legged on the 5 x 10 balcony overlooking the Gardiner Expressway or: seated on the ground in a clutch of red pine trees in the lakeside park across the street from the condo.  In other days, these ‘encuentros’  would have provided better dividends. 

The garage was Stan’s man cave.  Storage boxes stuffed with sentimental anchors among aged yard equipment collected on his shelving unit.  He was a salesman for Global Racking Systems.  One day a client wouldn’t pay for one of Stan’s sales, so the install team took back all the racking and put it in his garage.  

Tim had never seen his dad in work mode.  Stan started out really appreciative of the install team bringing it over and installing the racks.   Then in the flip of switch he was really bossy when it came to the installation.  Then he gave the guys pizza and beers.  It was fun for Tim to observe others caught in his dad’s passive/aggressive jousting.

Tim shuffled his feet on the gritty garage floor painted slate grey, looked back at the racking and realized he was proud of his dad.  He decided he would ask his dad about how to invest in a house.

The earthy air of the garage buoyed Oscar from falling deeper into the abyss of depression.  There was a hint of oily rags coming from the corner.  The ceiling was high enough and the garage wide enough so you didn’t sense you were missing out on the day when you were inside the garage.  

“Lemme see that thing, said Oscar reach for Tim to pass him the red handled screwdriver

“This thing is probably older than you,”  Tim said.

Oscar exhaled laughter,  “You know I am actually named after this fuckin thing.”

“Get outta town.”

“Ya.  My dad is a total tool geek and he insisted my name be Henry Phillips – the guy who patented the cross screwdriver.  He didn’t tell my mom until after I was born.  I’m pretty sure that is why they got divorced.”

“What?!”

“Well not exactly, but it couldn’t have fuckin helped.  Anyway, I was like three.  My mom made sure from then on everyone used my middle name.

“Oscar,”  Tim said.

“Nice to meet ya,”  Oscar raised his empty beer bottle and they both laughed.  Tim wanted to get them another beer but feared breaking the moment by going to the kitchen.

“Guys.”  Stan opened the door connecting the garage to the laundry room with his left hand and held up his right hand carrying two green bottles of beer.  “Do I have any customers?”  

Oscar jumped to his feet.

“Right on.  Perfect timing dad.”

“Where’s your beer Stan?”  Oscar asked.

“Back at the barbecue.  Burgers are gonna be ready in 5 minutes,”  Stan said, closing the door.

“Thanks dad,”  Stan loved hearing those words.  They ferried beautiful meaning.

“Nice and cold, thanks Stan,”  said Oscar as he grabbed a metal scraper with a wood handle from the workbench and popped the bottle caps off.

“Boys, dinners on the table,”  Tim’s mom chirped and then she knocked on the door.  Tim and Oscar chuckled at the backward sequence of it.

ar Oscar imagined that the granite boulder of depression weighing on his shoulders was crumbling into shiny grains of crystalline red, black and silver sand that fell off his back spilling around his feet.

—- Phillips is part of the Short Story Series called Tool by Kevin McNamara

Intro to Satisfaction – The Book


This book is for tough guys.  Like me.  Like you.  Tough nuts to crack.   When we aren’t as good as we want to be at our own emotional display we can get frustrated.  Frustration is rarely associated with satisfaction.

The spark of this writing is the belief that a man who is creative in achieving his satisfaction, able to share the successes and let downs of pursuing what he wants, will use his stressful challenges to grow.  Life has shown us that when one of us is frustrated in the moment, stressed by life, wayward in his manlife, he can easily lash out.  He can be hurtful with insults and beatings.   

The purpose of the book is to be a spur for men to access their emotional agility as they strive to get what they want.

A man who knows himself at daily and higher levels will appreciate what he is becoming despite his shortcomings.  He will have a sense that there is more to the definition of a man than can be found on the internet.

A constant theme of this book is that we are indeed on a development journey during our whole life.  That journey for a man differs from the journey of a woman.   Whether or not male and female journeys have converging priorities, understandings or emotions we all want to enlist each man to ‘be his own man’ in the moment.

When a woman wants something different from her man, or wants more from her husband or wants better from her boyfriend it is a good news story.  It locates the man in what she seeks.  It’s not a strike against you that, as a man, you cannot immediately figure out what she wants.  Perhaps it provides her a sense of being valued by knowing she can look to you for man services.  So, what kind of man services do you offer?  Sexual services, fixing flat tire services, humour, tenderness, encouragement services, mortgage payment services,  opening jam jars services, packing the car, parking the car, washing the car, barbecuing …

A man is a good thing.  Anyone who feels differently does not have the full story.  Or as is often the case, has had more bad man experiences than good.   Those damaging experiences are often the result of his lack of belief in himself .  This poverty of self-belief contorts the love of those that believe in him as a man.  When we can rise above the tyranny of our energy sucking ego we ascend into new thoughts, fresh intentions, rejuvenating conversation …  This elevation into realms of value, success and connection makes your man feel like the MVP. 

The underlying concept that powers this book is that men have the emotional finesse enabling them to instinctually respond to the Daily challenges and Devotional callings of life.

There are many men in the various communities you participate in that don’t subscribe to the dogma of sexism.  They go along with insulting jokes and remarks because they don’t have something stronger they believe in. Or they fear for their job and crave respect as a man’s man.  They most likely believe in women; in a deep and beautiful way.  However most men don’t get the education they want to become a man of self-respect, love and belief.

There is a lack of readily accessible guidance for men to become the reliable husband that is also the spontaneous guy who is also the nurturing man.  There is a paucity of seed pods for him to cultivate the  male version of instinct.  

Each day all men search for the missing pieces in the life puzzle of career, love and meaning.   At the risk of alienating himself from the lowest common denominator of macho manhood there are those that insist on being ambitious, clean and versatile.  It takes balls to be a man that resists the mafia of moronic male behaviour.

The guy who strives beyond the poor understanding of women and lack of self knowledge as a man needs your support.   Most likely he is energized by sincere love yet doubts his version of a man authentic.  He is juggling his professional ambition, the questions for his higher self and his residual anger of youth.   He wants to bundle them into a brave vision of him as a man, spouse and gentleman.

This book highlights that we are all capable of and responsible for our own Satisfaction in the ongoing stages of life, evolving relationships and variety of experiences.  

Did you see the 2007 movie Ocean’s 13?  It’s the third movie in the Ocean’s series of a modern band of thieves.  The sudden news of one of their own falling ill from shock of a business deal gone bad id bringing them all together again.  About ten minutes into the movie George Clooney as ‘Daniel Ocean’ and Brad Pitt as ‘Rusty’ are just getting off their private jet.    

‘It’s not their fight’  Linus, played by Matt Damon had just asked Ocean where Tess and Isabelle were.  A seemingly harmless question as they walk across the tarmac.  Tess (Julia Roberts) is Ocean’s wife; Isabelle (Catherine Zeta Jones) is the love of Rusty’s life.

Since Linus wants a bit more info he turns to Rusty and asks a little louder above the jet engines.  ‘Where are Tess and Isabelle?’

Out of nowhere Ocean explodes on his colleague Linus and repeats with an anvil of force closing the issue, ‘It’s not their fight’.

Ocean is right.  A man takes responsibility for his struggle.  He doesn’t make it hers.  Men are experts at the quiet struggle.  Like the earth is coursing with ley lines and the body is strung with energy meridians, men are marionettes to the undercurrents of genuine emotion.  The task at hand is to make this struggle less solitary, these emotions more accessible.

For that reason it is to be aware when you need help with your response.  Ask for help, accept help.  Appreciate the help and love the helper.  But never make them responsible for your fight.  Your fight is to evolve into you.  Become the version of a man that is becoming of you.  

Some men who are jacked up: cocky, confident, full of their preconceived idea of their importance to the moment.   There are those guys who are understanding, laid back and funny. Of course we all know those guys that are lost, lack confidence and have more things they dread than they look forward to as a man.  How could they ‘man up’ in a difficult situation.  They don’t have the education, training, or reference to find their mojo.

The degree to which many a man is lost and alienated from a development journey as a soul bearing gentleman can feel bigger than huge, and deeper than bottomless.

The lost man can’t seem to get traction on his passion and skills.  That’s part of why it can appear to his wife, a man doesn’t want to be a part of the solution to a withering marriage.  His relationship is complicated by him not knowing how to shine his light on the path of their marriage.

One of the core messages this book carries is that men are a creative force, wildly willing to be a part of something good. And they are sincere.  Sincerely in need of help to understand themselves, women and relationships. 

Gina Cody – What Is True Because Of You?

The following is an excerpt from an article on cbc.ca.

Another trailblazer, Toronto engineer Gina Cody, has been appointed as a member of the Order of Canada. Cody immigrated to Canada in 1979 at the age of 22 when her family fled the Iranian Revolution.

She was the first woman to be awarded a PhD in Building Engineering at Concordia University in Montreal and went on to found a successful consulting firm, CCI Group, that was named one of Canada’s most profitable woman-owned companies by Profit magazine in 2010.

The faculty of engineering at Concordia now bears her name. The Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science is the first in Canada — and one of the first in the world — to be named after a woman.

Cody said she hopes her appointment inspires more women to enter the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics — especially as economies undergo a “fourth industrial revolution” characterized by automation and smart technology. 

“That’s the message I want to send out — that parents encourage their girls and young children to get into the STEM programs,” said Cody.

To see the full article check out the link below.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/order-of-canada-appointments-2020-1.5856833

Anita Roddick – What Is True because Of You?

Anita Roddick was a pioneer as an ecological entrepreneur. In 1976 in England she started The Body Shop selling beauty products that were not tested on animals. She did not let her success limit her positive impact on the planet and women. She would go on to establish a foundation in her name that would create orphanages and local businesses in third world countries. She was a loving wife and caring mother who had lots of stress, made enemies and lots of money.

Anita Roddick what is true today because of your belief and proactivity? There is much more western world awareness about the source of the products we buy. For example information like the source of the product referring to the people who make them, the conditions they work in and the planetary environment where they are produced. This has helped raise the level of dignity of many workers as well as to show the conscientious consumer how to get involved.

Her 1991 book, Body and Soul Roddick shares her experience of creating the role of CEO activist.

A Long Strange Trip — STORYTELLER

With explosive power. Man oh man, Forty years already. Where did the time go? Better yet, why did my time go? Today is December 8. A horrible anniversary. I didn’t know until the next day so for me December 9 is just as bad. I hope by now you know what I’m talking about. If […]

A Long Strange Trip — STORYTELLER

Move The Words Out Of Your Heart

Photo by christian buehner on Unsplash

Move the words out of your heart – say anything man. Be funny, dumb, endearing, stilted, embarrassing, true and simple. If they stay in your heart they will block your arteries and give you a heart attack.

Say how you feel. Because you want to understand and be understood. Understand what causes you to feel inspired or lost, confident or frustrated. And be understood as you go through the process of using these words to grow.

Find your words for love and vulnerability, of vision and belief.

Practice the words for sorry and appreciation, worry and forgiveness.

Repeat the words that elevate you and are a catalyst for other men.

Move the words out of your heart and into the world so we can all hear and learn:

What the man in you knows …

What the man in you wants …

What the man in you upholds …

Worth Repeating

Earlier today I was looking through my blog posts in search of a previous post about The Female Frixion when I came across this one from a year and half ago entitled 10 Things A Young Man Needs To Hear From A Man. When I wrote this it was a time when I knew even less than I think I know now. Fearful of the edits it still begs I believe there are some valid points in this post. Worth repeating. I have included 2 here starting with Be Agile – Not Fragile. That is what a father wants for his son. What a woman wants for her man.

Photo by Stephanie Nakagawa on Unsplash

  1. Do the work to be emotionally agile not fragile. This one is so important to teach by example. The work can be analogous to juggling. If you focus on one ball then all of them will fall.  To take it up a level you use your peripheral vision to manage the task at hand.  What is being asked is to be able to have long term vision while still managing the present.
  2. Define strength: mentally, physically, emotionally – as a man; find out what it is for a woman.  What is your formula for strength in each case:  Emotional Strength = _________ +  ____________ Use your strengths to highlight them in others.

To see the whole list use the link below.

https://wild-coach.com/2019/05/17/10-things-a-young-man-needs-to-to-hear-from-a-man/

Feel free to share these ideas with a young man to understand what he hungers for.

Is the Pandemic Telling Us How to Fix Gender Inequality in the Workplace? — Thrive Global

Listen closely and you can hear it whisper… I spent the first six months of this pandemic enraged. Mostly due to an overwhelming feeling of burden regarding all the additional domestic chores the pandemic added to our plates. ALL! THE! DISHES! The unending cycle of meal prep and the virtual school tug-of-war with my children – least…

Is the Pandemic Telling Us How to Fix Gender Inequality in the Workplace? — Thrive Global

A Wild Idea: The Kabbalah of Marriage — Ask Life Coach Sam

By Aron Moss Marriage is a pretty bizarre concept. It must have been G‑d’s idea. Who else could think of such a wacky plan like bringing together two opposites and putting them under one roof to share a life? And who else could invent an institution as beautiful and powerful as marriage? It’s wacky—but it works. It […]

A Wild Idea: The Kabbalah of Marriage — Ask Life Coach Sam

Women are Better at … – Excerpt from a book in progress about Satisfaction

Women are better at being women than men are at being men.

Photo by Preillumination SeTh on Unsplash

This is not man bashing.

Photo by Ana-Maria Nichita on Unsplash

Imagine your three big terracotta flower pots on the sunny side of the house where the tomato plants soak up the sun.  Even though they have that bitter tomato plant fragrance they smell fabulous in the summer afternoon heat.  The pots where the chile plants were sown and watered got grouped by the gate in the shadow of the big tomato plant pots.

Photo by Justus Menke on Unsplash

Due to the conditions the tomatoes ripen and each plant gives lots of fruit.  Whereas the chiles are small and few.  The chiles have the same desire to grow.  Tomatoes grow into tomatoes.  Chiles into chiles.  Their success depends a lot on the local conditions.

The local conditions in a woman includes her management of the Female Frixion (see below).

The local conditions in a man are impacted by his dealing with life through the Male Stack.

This is not fanning the flames of the battle of the sexes.  It’s not saying there is a competition to achieve self-realization as a man or woman. It’s not a race to embody your gender before your spouse embodies theirs. It’s not a comparison because we are talking apples and oranges here.

Women are oscillating while men are projecting.  

Women get lonely – and seek out companionship. Men get lost – and need direction.

Men will proclaim when a woman in the same situation will reflect.

The Female Frixion generates an emotional conflict in women about the prevalence of one of the three lives in the moment or stage of life.   Those lives are:  Professional, Romantic and Maternal.  In men they are: Professional, Romantic and Paternal.  Men don’t live the same friction of feeding these three lives in the same way.  Women internalize the friction and men externalize the stress.  Women make themselves responsible for their emotions about the 3-way balance of these inner lives.  Men can often not understand how or why they would be responsible for their own emotions. 

Each woman struggles for years with this aspect of their life.  Often it can make them not feel good about themselves.  A woman might start to think she is not ’a good mother’.   The truth may be she is a good mother but the friction that follows her around, like a 4 year old girl follows around her older sister, won’t let her in peace.  

This friction  heightens her awareness to her inner lives and cultivates the connection with her instinct.  Her instinct is about life.  Her female instinct responds to the moment that her mind is focused on.  It is not simply her instinct about how she feels about her emotions.  That is included.  But it needs to be understood that her instinct, the instinct, is fast and true and collects no emotional baggage.  We collect the baggage with our low emotion ego trolling.  The more emotional luggage we insist on hauling around life the less we can listen to and recognize the instinct.  

Lateral consideration of the three lives all at once that is the mental/emotional process of women is in contrast to the vertical surging that is the one-at-a-time male style process.  This is the Male Stack.  Instead of a need to bring all three lives forward with the same grace and focus like a woman, the man engages one life at a time.  The male life management style may appear to require less subtlety and finesse from the man himself because according to him ‘it is what it is,’ ‘what you see is what you get.’ That is the challenge staring each man in the face: To make his living of the three lives in his own unique way a vertically integrated generator of male instinctual response.

Because the female consideration is not as reactive as the surging male she can appear to be powered by an unsure woman.   That is not always true.  Perhaps rarely true. 

The decision making circuitry to decide about the same thing as a man is different in a woman.  That needs to be understood.  And appreciated. So it can impact our lives.  Reflected upon so it can impact our marriages.  Impact our language, sayings, expectations, our workplace (like making workplace based daycare more possible).  

An excellent illumination on the reality of women’s decision making is How Women Decide by Therese Huston. The book focuses on the extra and unfair work a woman has to do quickly, mentally in the moment to make her decision appear as valid as possible in the eyes of men. Huston also delves into the innate decision making differences between men and women. She highlights if a woman can grasp how to utilize her natural mental/emotional circuitry in a business setting then she can deactivate the resistance to her style of thinking. For our personal relationships the useful insights that are supported with how-to ideas are relevant to generating good conversation with your spouse to elevate understanding.

When we choose we, men and women, can update our beliefs about women.  We can learn a lot if we take the time and observe how this friction is a reality.  Communicate the fact of it and tell stories about it.  Resist the laziness that permits this difference to damage and not enlighten.  Resist blaming a woman for being a woman.

Women are not better than men.  Men are not better than women.  However because of the Female Frixion women are generally more true to their nature than men are to theirs.

This lack of connection with one’s essence as a man can cause stress in a man.  Without a strong emotional core, a man under stress can blame others for wanting to help him, he can delve into some form of drugs (including the internet). A man, even if he is really a good man, if he feels stressed, unappreciated or lost can get angry and become violent.  

Most likely women would think men experience this friction between the inner lives but they don’t.  So in difficult moments that require a couple to be on the same page, they often aren’t.  This can convert an important or difficult conversation into an argument.  Faster than we can stop it.  The argument is powered not by the issue being discussed but by the lack of understanding.  And exacerbated by how we feel about not being understood or understanding. 

+++

If women have the Female Frixion to connect them to their instinct, what do men have?  What can be the sand in the seashell that is a positive friction to produce a pearl?  

Ask yourself:

What do you stand for?  As a man, husband.

What do you uphold?  In the stress of providing for your family on a daily basis and also in the search for a sense of purpose.  

How agile are you within the Male Stack (of the three lives)?

Do you want to cultivate your response to the instinct?

What do you adhere to?  When the conversation turns sexist.

What do you cause in others?  By what you resist.

What are you in service to? For immediate and lifetime results. 

Fast: Part 1 of the series

Photo by rayul on Unsplash

Fast.

Man is fast.  A short man, a fat man, a bald guy, middle class, employee, entrepreneur, impatient, divorced, shy, bad breathed, fashionable, funny.  They are all men.  They are all fast.

How fast?  Reflex fast.   Faster than doubt fast.

What kind of fast? Sleight of hand fast.  Love fast. At the speed of love = responding from the blood and bones of your life.

Instant yet not ignorant.  Spontaneous but not fickle.

Like a leopard is dangerously fast in the jungle a fast man is emotionally capable.  Capable to receive, interpret and respond with sensitivity.   Sensitivity powered by the decisions he has made.  Sensitivity aligned to an external purpose.   The purpose can be a marriage or job or community project or his religious life. 

The fast man can take some time to get up to fast speed.   He has decisions to make, experiences to process, mistakes to recuperate from, self belief to re-encounter, success to follow up on, a man cave to manicure, love to share,  sensitivities to develop, a purpose to adhere to, personal religion to nurture.

A Fast Man is not in a hurry even though there may be a ton of things to do.  A Fast mind is not stressed but can definitely feel the pressure.  In Fast mode a man has perception because the task becomes the focus. 

A Fast mind is in the zone and has a sensitivity to the details and timings of the moment.   Those details include respect for people and the planet.  Timings can be in the project, in the moment or stage of life. In contrast, highlighting how you feel about how you feel turns a fast mind into a foggy mind.  The ego is quick to grab attention and energy but it has no friends. No partnerships. Fast is in association with Slow to generate some flow that supports growth.

 The book Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi provides very useful context and research that describes this mental space and what can happen when we embrace it.

Everyone, man or woman, anchored in their ego, is fast to judge.  Judging someone else’s response to the moment.  What do we know of that other person or the moment? Whether judging or being judged, neither has anything to do with the nature of a man.  Judgment has to do with the Ego.  Not the best part of the Ego.  What happens when a man responds according to his nature and is not restrained by his Ego?  A man not limited by judgement  is a man fast to offer his service.  Because it makes him feel valued as a man to be of service to others.  Despite his vulnerability.  His vulnerability is powered by how he feels as a man.  Whether he knows it or not. His vulnerability is accentuated when he cannot be a fast man when that is what is required.  That pains a man greatly.  To the point of boiling over into violent.  At the expense of self respect and dignity for his wife.  

Likewise, without a doubt if the sincere nature of a man is not appreciated, especially by those close to him, then his sense of service will come from his own need for self-respect. Meaning he will uphold what is right like the clean vigour of a man or the cleanliness of a job well done.

Problems start; and don’t stop when the fast nature of a man gets interrupted by misunderstandings, unclear relationships, money/work/stress, heavy traffic on the drive home, bad habits, fear, lack of confidence, lack of self belief.  That is his challenge.  To be clutch in the moment. Or even be the clutch that allows himself to change gears between fast, slow and visionary. To self elevate above his hesitation because he thinks he doesn’t know what to do. To find a way to keep going.   Without damage.  A stealth Satisfaction.

If he doesn’t have the ability to generate from within himself the sense of being a man when his feeling of accomplishment is delayed by life problems, then he bangs up against his limit.  His limit of patience, of conversation, of listening, of acceptance, of transcendence. What happens when he is face to face with his limit:  Frustration;  Yelling; Quit; Blame; Solutions; Creativity; Reflection;   Insults;  Violence? 

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

The fast man is he who is connected to his instinct.  Perhaps he has maintained this connection since birth.  Or by adherence to it at great personal social cost.  Or some combination of both.

The instinct is fast.  Beyond my fast and your fast.  Human fast.  Naturally fast.  Planetary fast.  Forest fast.  It is known that trees communicate with each other through their roots using a fungus called mycelium.  As soon as the first tree in the forest senses someone entering the territory the last tree knows it. Even if the last tree is 20 km away. That fast.  Our communion with the instinct is facilitated by belief.  Belief in a man. 

Be that man – fast in the moment – or striving to be so.

Man: Fast, Slow, Visionary. A Brief intro to the 3 part series.

Meet the man inside the man.

Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

We are living with a mindset of a pandemic planet.  Experts are at a loss for a way forward. As we have to adjust our restrictions from spring life to summer living in 2020 absolutely nothing changes about men.  The combination of technological advancement and viral ferocity makes these unprecedented times.  

You too are unprecedented!   Your ‘photosynthesis’ of the moment is as unique as each plant in the forest.  You are a ‘once in a human race occurrence’.  It also means that you, and only you are responsible for your generation of belief in men.  The best of men.  The daily and inspiring man.  If international experts and politicians can’t make decisions you can.  You can forge the way forward in the bigness that is your life.

What is that man?   

Photo by Daniel Lincoln on Unsplash

He is Fast.  He is Slow.  He is Visionary.  He is all three.  By nature.  By birth.  These innate aspects might not be so obvious as a result of upbringing and education.  Regardless they are essential to highlight and aspire to.

More to follow.