Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


I am a Cream Puff

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Sheep which is in the early afternoon or 2:56 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

No, really. Stop laughing! I’m serious!
Yeah, okay, I put on a tough-guy act a lot of the time, but I’m not. Really, I’m just a big coward. The other day, I got so freaked out about being alone in the house that I loaded up my .357 and put it in the electronic gun safe. (It’s one that I can use a key-code to open in case of emergency.) It’s sitting next to my bed. Right next to the sword. And the knives. Hmmm, I see a theme here. Now, you’d think that a guy who has all those “weapons” is some kind of maniac, right? Nope. He’s a coward.
Why is he a coward? Well, why, in a nice neighborhood where there’s never, ever been any trouble would a brave man need any protection like that? Right, he doesn’t. I have all that stuff because it makes me feel more courageous. More noble, somehow, in spite of how odd that sounds even to me. But, it’s true. I haven’t been in a fight since the Fifth Grade, though I got a little roughed up in my Sophmore year in High School once for running my smart mouth. So, why have I spent so much time learning about self-defence? Why did I take a college course on karate, taught by two somewhat psycho ex-Green Beret ‘Nam vets, no less? Why have I read countless books on hand-to-hand combat and knife-fighting? For pity’s sake, why did I let another ‘Nam vet teach me how to throw knives in the basement garage of the Hyatt Regency Chicago?!?
Simple. I wanted to make my Dad proud of me. My Dad grew up on the South Side of Chicago before and during the Depression. Yeah, he’s that old. I grew up hearing phrases like “It’s not how much dog there is in the fight, it’s how much fight there is in the dog. Be the dog with the most fight.” And, “Being tough is mental, not physical. Be more mentally tough than the next guy and you’ll be okay.” And, I heard stories about my Dad’s time in the Army. Violent stories about bar fights and big guys named “Swede” and “Moose”. Somehow from all that, I got that my Dad wanted me to be tough, not sensitive. And, really, that’s what I am: a sensitive artist. Well, a wanna-be artist, at least.
So, all this time, I’ve been working to be something that I don’t even truly understand. Along the way, I developed some calluses on both my body and my heart. I did get a little tougher, but that happens to everyone. Though, I have to admit that I’m surprised I can go for five minutes on my heavy-bag bare-knuckle, even today. Until this week, I don’t think I’ve hardly touched a punching bag since before I moved down from Chicago. But, those calluses are still there. Sometimes, people don’t understand those calluses. They think that makes me a tough guy, or a dangerous guy, but it doesn’t really. Just a guy who got a little lost and confused while trying to make his Dad proud.

You know what the funny thing is? I never really had to do anything. I thought I had to do something to show my Dad that I was a man, but I didn’t. Dad was always proud of me, even if I am a cream puff.

1 Comment

  1. Dear Mr. Creampuff,

    I have often wondered, considering some of the obvious personality differences between us (You are very detail oriented and precise, I prefer to fly at 10,000 ft and shoot targets with a shotgun), why we still seem to have much in common. It seems to be reducable to ART. I’ve recently decided that if I don’t express myself through my art (song-writing, short stories) I may as well…. I’ve gone through a lot of changes in the last couple years and I’m starting to weed-out the non-essentials. When I listen to the radio now, each time a song comes on I say to myself “Is this art or entertainment?” That’s the ruler I prefer to measure my life by. If it’s not art, I need to be doing something else. I know this opens up the whole “What is art?” argument, but I’m the judge for me, you make up your own mind. Anyway, that’s a long and winding road that leads my saying, “Cream Puffs, Unite!”

    Comment by POL — 1/10/2005 @ 8:32 am

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