When Men act as Men

The tree stump was rooted deep in the soil. It was time for a new tree to be planted, but before it could, the old stump needed to be uprooted.

The father and son stood at odds on many things. Career choices, personal views, political views, even thoughts on what was right and what was wrong. But the tree stump needed to go, and they were the only two willing to do it.

So they chopped. They took the axe and chopped, again and again, for hours. Still, the tree wouldn’t budge. Their hands were blistered, their bodies were tired, but the tree stump still remained.

So they pushed on. They pushed on and chopped at that damn tree like it was the scum of the earth, like it was the true root of all the world’s problems.

More time passed, but the stump still hadn’t budged. Their hands were bloody, their faces were red and sweaty, and every and all intellectual thought told them it was time to quit, and wait for another day to uproot the old tree stump.

But the father looked at the son, and smiled as he said, “Boy, I don’t know ’bout you, but I want this sucker out soon.”

The boy looked at his pop and returned. “Dad, I don’t know about you, but I won’t sleep if this stump still has roots.”

So they returned to the axing. Swinging and chopping, grunting and heaving. Gradually, the stump began to break loose from the soil, and, pretty soon, after a strenuous effort of tugging and pushing, they finally managed to pull the old tree stump out from the ground.

The father and son shared a brief grin, before simultaneously struggling to catch their breaths as they panted heavily. Eventually, the father stood up straight, put his hand on his son’s shoulder, then said to him, “Boy, we may disagree on things, and we may dispute a time or two. But when it comes down to it, I’m the same man as you.”

The son crossed his arms. “I don’t see that dad, I’m sorry pa, I think I disagree with you on more than all.”

The father laughed, then picked up a cold beer from the outside fridge, popped it open, then took a swig. “When I was your age my papa done raised me to see just as he, to see what he sees. But time done unfold and as I grow old, I realize that things ain’t all which they seem. For in relaxed state all men tend to hate, despise one another, make enemies outta brothers. But when it comes down to it and problems arise, difficult tasks which some folk despise, their must be a force to tackle the issue, there must be some men who don’t need a tissue. So when it comes down to it and it’s time to face woes, men act as men and fuck up their foes.”

The son smiled, opened the fridge, then took a beer for himself. He clanked the beer with his dad, and the two men enjoyed a swig together.

– Thomas M. Watt

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