Thursday, December 01, 2005

Be somebody or be somebody's fool

A father figure is an important thing to a boy. When this sort of thing is in short supply, some end up teaching themselves to shave (by trial and painful error, needless to say). Some even go so far as to simply make up adages and attribute them to male ancestors. (It's like I told my boss the other day: "It's like my granddaddy always said: If you let people shit on you enough, you eventually start to resemble a toilet to them.")

Others conspire to learn manhood by seeking out men and closely observing them to learn how to be one, as in this affecting Salon article that I read shortly after September 11, 2001. A somewhat Kantian moral has stayed with me since: One should always try to act in a way befitting a role model, for you may well be one.

And still others look to stranger places for guidance. Mr. T. might have seemed like a joke to some with his advice to not do drugs and stay in school, but the plain truth is that it's good, solid advice. And it turns out that some kids really took it to heart. For some boys who grew up in the 1980s, Mr. T. really, really mattered. They looked up to him. And in turn, he made it his mission--in the truest Christian sense of the word--not to let them down. To show them how to grow up right. To be somebody, not somebody's fool. He may have sometimes cut a somewhat ludicrous figure in the process, and, to be sure, with his famous Mohawk and gold chains, Mr. T. is a walking cartoon character. But that's only because Mr. T. is a hero.


Anonymous Ken said...

Mr. T rocks.

12/01/2005 03:32:00 PM  

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