Today is 'potluck' day at my office. Everyone brings something to eat for lunch. There is a selection of cold cuts, salads, buns, fresh vegetables, dips, desserts and who knows what else. It looks yummy.
There is only one problem with the scenario, today. Although I will be partaking of this wonderful repast, I didn't bring any food myself. Sure, we have been doing this for years and yes, my wife has always been kind enough to contribute a potato or caesar salad on my behalf. Still, since no-one mentioned to me that we would be having our potluck lunch again this year, I figured that it was a tradition that had run its course.
Not so, one of the gals told me as she saw the horrified look on my face. The women had simply decided that they would bring the food and the men, three of us, were off the hook. Now, I am going to feel guilty enjoying lunch. But I will still eat it; there is no point in having all that wonderful food go to waste, is there?
Any reader of this blog knows that I consider one of the great puzzles of life to be how men and women can be expected to get and stay together. I have always thought men and women to be effectively two separate species, not simply two genders of the same species. That is scientific nonsense, of course, but ask any man how well he understands his wife or any woman how well she understands her husband. Then watch their reaction. The face goes blank, trying to hide the frenzy of activity as cogs and wheels turn behind a deceptively calm facade. Then, there is a smell of something burning, of overloaded circuits, and the person melts into a puddle, right there in front of you. And you're not surprised to see that spectacle unfold, are you? See? We agree. Men and women are different species.
Men and women are different. Very different.
I like women, though. They can be fun to be with, even aside from the obvious carnal scenarios I know you are imagining as you read this. In non-committal situations, where no claims of fidelity and everlasting devotion have been staked, women can be interesting, provocactive, have useful insights, and generally be a hoot to be with. Women, no doubt, would make the same observations about men. Then, after marriage, some couples live in connubial bliss forever and ever, each having found their 'soulmate.' Others spend the rest of their lives wondering how they could have been such wonderfully charming and competent individuals before marriage, only to turn into hateful and incompetent cousins of Beelzebub after marriage.
Of course, they haven't changed at all inside. They are still wonderfully charming and competent, given the chance. Most human behaviour is reactive. Don't like the way your spouse or lover reacts? Change your behaviour.
The women in my office left us men out of the potluck loop because we're incompetent. Let's face it. Women are better organized (generally) and take care of detail much better than most men. That is why, for decades, out of four management positions in my company (myself, as owner, excluded,) three are held by women. They do the job. The whole job. Including the paperwork. And... they take care of potluck lunches.
Thanks, ladies. I appreciate all the trouble you have gone to and I know I am a very lucky man to have you all on my team.
As we all sit at the dinner table over the holiday season, enjoying our Christmas turkey or ham, as we sit around the Christmas tree opening our gifts from loved ones, in fact whatever we do over this special time of year -- let's be nice to each other. Husbands and wives, sons and daughters, relatives, friends, lovers, everyone, be kind to those around you. Smile. Please and thank you. No whining, no bitching, no criticism, nothing negative. Nothing negative. After a few days of this, maybe some of the improved attitude and behaviour will stick around for a while. Wouldn't that be a great way to start a new year?
It is enough, in my opinion, that many nations, races, religions and sundry political factions all hate each other. Let's not do that to each other as individuals.
So, in the spirit of Christmas... I love each and every one of you.
Peace on earth and goodwill to men.