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127 – Your Last Five Minutes?



Ok, today I will actually be talking about something that was inspired by a conversation I had with my wife just this morning.

We were basically talking about the character of men, and she was giving me some of her perceptions and observations down through the years.  As a woman…her estimation of mens character abroad…is much dimmer than mine, her perspective is not that of a 270 pound man, a former boxer who goes through life seldom feeling threatened or at any disadvantage…that’s my perception.

Her perception is that of a 125 pound woman who has always had to be watchful and wary, who has gone through the world searching for well lit spaces to walk in, and who always feels some degree of menace and danger in situations with men she doesn’t know.

These two perceptions are wildly different, and worth noting, because the one force in the world that has made her feel threatened more than anything else…is men she doesn’t know.

She told me about a time around 2009 when she was on a website called FARK, a space dominated mostly by men who spend a lot of time trying to be funny while commenting on current issues…that sort of thing.

On this website the question came up;  “If a meteor was heading for earth and you knew you only had 5 minutes to live…what would you do?”

She says that several men, in fact the majority on this website quickly responded that if they knew they only had five minutes to live…they would rape their neighbor. 

She went on to tell me how that made her feel as a woman…knowing that she would have to spend her last five minutes on earth defending the virtue of her daughter, granddaughter, and other women around her from those that would take it without permission.  It is a horrible notion…and one that we as men can only pretend to understand, because we will never feel threatened in that way.

I am a defender of men, I constantly champion the fact that there are many, many good men in the world.  Men who will always stand up for what is right and good.  I believe in the capacity of men to be valiant heroes and protectors of all those who need protecting.  So, hearing that men publicly said, without apology in a public space, that if they only had five minutes to live they would rape someone, kind of took the wind out of my sails.

Sure, this was back in 2009 and it could have just been guys talking, trying to be extreme, thinking they were funny somehow.  But still, the fact that they would say it, is alarming to me…as it was to my wife at the time.

When I hear things like this I often wonder if I am being delusional, I wonder if my view and outlook of men is naive and overly biased toward the positive because of my personal experience and the men I was fortunate to have known. 

Of course I realize there are lots of guys who have no direction, no guidance, no conscience with regard to their behavior.  Guys reared in unfortunate circumstances who have never been exposed to another way…that’s one of the reasons I do this podcast.  But, at the same time I like to believe that the majority of men have risen above their base animal instincts.  I have seen evidence of this in the men I have known throughout my life…am I wrong?

I refuse to believe I am wrong about that, but my wife perception and the perception of millions of women in the world today is still valid, because they have seen the world through different eyes. 

What I think this conversation with my wife illustrated more than anything else, was exactly how important it is for men to be mindful of the things they say and do.

You know how I always say that in every moment we are living we are the example of manhood for whoever is watching?  This is a great example of that.  In that moment when my wife was watching, several men said things that have plagued her perception ever since, because they were poor examples of manhood it served to tarnish her overall perception of all men.  That’s how it works, and that is why it is imperative that we behave like good, responsible men everywhere we go…because you never know who is watching.

I like to imagine a world in which our wives, sisters, and daughters can go through the world without ever feeling threatened.  A world where men represent safety and protection rather than physical abuse.  I admit…that world doesn’t exist right now, it’s a fantasy.  But, every time a man stands up for someone else, every time a man speaks out against those who would propagate fear, every time any man anywhere starts his day with the intent to be a better man than he was yesterday…we get a little closer to that ideal world, and that matters.

I think you should think about this question;  how would you spend your last five minutes on earth?  Ask your friends, pose the question on social media and see what other people say, it might give you an idea of where people are in the world, and it might provide you with an opportunity to educate someone, and be an example.

It has caused me to ponder how I would spend my last five minutes.  I can tell you exactly what I would do…I would spend my last five minutes trying to make everyone around me feel lucky for the life they had lived,  I would try to make them smile, or laugh, and would make sure they didn’t feel alone.  That would be my goal.

Alright guys, now head out into the world armed with the knowledge of how you would spend your last five minutes, and then hey…why not spend all your available minutes doing that?  We don’t have to wait for our last five minutes.  Today is our opportunity to be a better man than we were yesterday…lets not waste it.

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