Tuesday, November 17, 2009
My editor called. She was in a lecturing mood and wanted to straighten me out on some introspective stuff I'd written. Actually, it was just one sentence, but, according to me, it was pithy and deep -- some short, but very good stuff.
"Men are not introspective creatures," she said. "Better scratch the sentence. It's good, but it's not believable. Your readers won't believe you thought that up on your own. They'll think you stole it from some woman."
I was peeved and flummoxed. (I almost wrote "mad" but I'm trying to use some bigger words these days. And, in fairness, I was more peeved than mad.)
"I'm introspective," I huffed.
"So when was the last time?" Annie asked.
"When I wrote that sentence."
"A full sentence of introspective thought? Better be careful. You don't want to wear yourself out," Annie said. "And when were you introspective before that?"
"Neither can I," Annie said.
As you might guess, that flummoxing experience caused me to do some musing -- some light introspective thinking -- on males and their limited sensibilities.
"Or lack thereof," Annie said.
So here's my theory. I call it "my theory" because I haven't researched it, or talked to anybody about it, or even thought much about it.
Back in olden times, God made men to do two things and do them well -- breed and get meat. We learned to get out of bed, get some meat, bring it home, eat it, and go back to bed. For a really long time that's all we did or thought about.
Breeding and getting meat were mutually reinforcing activities. Bringing home a particularly nice haunch of beef was favored with an extra helping of breeding, which encouraged the delivery of another nice haunch the next day, and so on.
Our lives were simple. Life was good and there was no need for introspection.
Then God made beer. Suddenly we had three things to do and think about. Our lives got complicated. There was no room for introspection. Beer soaked up available thinking time, so to speak.
So, that's my general theory. It explains a lot until guys reach the age of 59.
At 59, a man's testosterone runs just a hair above empty and beer gives him a bad case of the burps. (Believe me. I know.) All of a sudden, we are not the sex-starved, beer swilling types we used to be. Time is freed up for thinking about things other than breeding and beer.
Food fills the void to some degree, but too much eating causes burps, too. So we can't turn all of our free time to food. Some of our newfound thinking time has to go somewhere else.
Some of us become hypochondriacs. We start worrying about the burps.
Is it indigestion? Or maybe gastric effervescent reflux disease? Or something worse? Who knows what's really going on in there? You can see why we'd worry.
Some of us use the extra time to try out introspection, maybe even a bit of sensitivity. It's challenging and time-consuming.
These days, I'm trying to avoid hypochondria and become one of the sensitive types. That's how I came up with the introspective sentence.
So I called my editor and told her I'd been doing some thinking and was putting my introspective sentence back in.
"But don't worry," I said. "I'm also adding a sentence earlier in the book telling folks I'm closing out my 59th year. That'll explain everything."
"Oh brother," she said, before hanging up.
"Lordy, Lordy, Lordy," Annie said. "That's the silliest thing I've ever heard. But not surprising. What do you think is causing your burps? Maybe you should see your doctor."
"You think it could be something bad?" I asked.
"Sure it could," she said.
So now I'm using my extra thinking time to worry about burps. I'm taking a breather from introspection, but I hope to come back to it one of these days.