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February 11, 2010


I've been home sick from work the past couple of days. I started feeling peaked (does anyone still use that word?) on Tuesday, went home early that day, and have been out ever since. My wife got the same thing last week, and is still dealing with it. I like to kid myself and think I'm tough as nails, and take whatever pains or sickness life throws at me like the good stoic I am. But in reality, my wife is dealing with hers a hell of a lot better. While I was at work, and she was sick, she still managed to get the kid off to school, pick her up, fix the meals (hey, I did offer!) and do everything else she normally does.

While I've been home sick, she's managed to get the kid off to school, pick her up, fix the meals, and what have I accomplished? Well, I've gotten some good naps in, screwed around on the internet quite a lot, watched ESPN pretty much nonstop...

So, basically, women are tough, men are wimps. It's not really surprising when you think about it. It pretty much has to be that way. Evolution has seen to it. Women have to have a higher pain/discomfort threshold to be able to handle childbirth, or we would've been extinct a long time ago.

As for guys being wimpy, I think it's something that happens gradually. It's not how you start off, because, you know, little boys are notoriously tough.

When I was a little kid, I used to love watching Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. I'll admit it, I'm not embarrassed. Looking back, I'm not sure what about the show appealed to me. Maybe it was the repetition: changing into his sneaks, taking off his jacket and putting on his sweater, that little train he played with. I had to watch it everyday. But one day, Mr. Rogers got a little splinter in his finger. He probably didn't really, just acting I'm sure. And what an actor!

So he went through all the things you're supposed to do when that happens: get a pair of tweezers, pluck it out, put some iodine on it, and wrap a bandage around it. And all of a sudden it hit me: Mr. Rogers was a wimp! I was crestfallen, and never watched another episode.

Now, compare Mr. Rogers to, say, Rambo. 

Do you remember the scene in “First Blood” where Rambo falls through the trees, and gets all cut up and impaled by tree branches? And then he whips out his little first-aid kit and stitches himself back up? That scene has always stuck with me, because it was something I could identify with.

I grew up on a ranch, and one night, after a long day of hauling hay, we were finishing stacking hay in the barn. It was our last load, and I was exhausted. I slipped while scaling up the side of some hay, and while falling backwards, my back hit one of the beams. It hurt like hell, but I kept on working. On the drive back to the house, I felt something sticking in my back. When we got home, my mom saw blood on the back of my shirt, and after taking off my shirt, found several good sized shards of wood that had broken off into my back. I think I was about 11 or 12. Boy, did my dad catch hell for that!  But it gave me a certain sense of self-importance.  I had worked through the pain, and endured. 

But now, at the age of 44, I realize that my wife is ten times tougher than me. As I said before, turning into a wimp is a gradual process, so I  can't pin down as to when it happened.,  At least I got to enjoy being a Rambo for a little while. Now, if you'll excuse me, my daughter has just punched me in the shoulder, and it hurts!  Where's the ice pack?