WARNING: sweeping generalizations and sexisms
I’ve seen Apocalypse Now many times over. In fact, it’s a real testosteroney kinda movie that I get into and surprisingly enjoy. Everytime I watch it, I feel like I learn someting new. Sometimes what I learn is even about the Vietnam War or American foreign policy. Sometimes I learn about the male psyche, or my spouse’s ego.
The one lesson I never learned is, “[Willard in voice-over:] “‘Never get out of the boat.’ Absolutely goddamn right! Unless you were goin’ all the way…”
That is an important lesson. One, that in my own egotist experience, I thought I did not need to learn…. when to get off the boat, or stay in it for your own best interests. When to recognize that getting ‘out of the boat’ means to put oneself out there in dangerous circumstances and take a risk of not making it home alive.
And of course, there are lots of opportunities for men to learn that lesson – when to stay in the boat. If they are lucky, they learn it in an environment that won’t get them killed. But men take risks that women often wouldn’t dream of. Many women wouldn’t even be in a damn boat leading them off somewhere dangerous to risk life and limb. Real men are emasculated by the idea that they are whim to the folly of their circumstances. Kurtz: [intercepted radio message] “I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That’s my dream; that’s my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor… and surviving. ” Many women have the experience of crawling along the edge of a straight razor already – when 1 in 4 college women is a victim of attempted or completed rape; and a staggering 25% of all women in the U.S. will be abused by current or former partners some time during their lives. By the time one gets to my age, most women have become indoctrinated to avoid situations that likely will bring harm to themselves.
But not me. I figured I had survived some ridiculously nasty shit in my lifetime, childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence in my first marriage, even the occasional stalker over the years. And when Lance says, “Disneyland? Fuck, man, this is better than Disneyland!” I feel like I totally understand what he means. My loyal readers will remember my own feelings about Disneyland as being an awful kind of horror show – some kind of rite of domestic bliss passage that families must partake in. And one cannot avoid how much I hate the residence of my current city/state. This is an awful kind of twisted place to live in, and I agree, Fuck! Living here is a far better horror than visiting stupid Disneyland! If you’re into that sort of thing.
I figured I had survived so much that nothing worse could happen to me.
And in truth, what did happen to me was far less painful and traumatic than anything that had come before; it was really like a small straw, and it broke me – just like a camel’s back.
I got punched in the face by a teen-aged girl whom I do not know and will likely never see again.
She was hiding in the bushes while her wasted teenaged boyfriend kept teetering in the street in front of and around my car. I finally got out of the car to confront him and to see if I could get him to the sidewalk, then he pushed me. So I pushed him back – not being one to take crap from a teenage boy. And then, WHAM! Out of the bushes she flew and cold-cocked me.
Ok, in truth it was a freakin’ girly punch so it just gave me a slight bruise – not a serious shiner. But the effect was stunning.
And given all the anti-immigration and woman legislation going on in my homestate, the willful ignorance and appallingly ugly stupidity I am really inclined to think like Chef who says, “I used to think if I died in an evil place, then my soul wouldn’t be able to make it to Heaven. But now? Fuck! I mean, I don’t care where it goes, as long as it ain’t here.”
Not that I believe in god. I’m an atheist, of course.