Peer pressure rolls right off a mature Cole and into a ditch
Burt's Eye View
The more I age, the more my immunity to peer pressure matures. It’s like gaining a force field against stupidity.
Oh, sure, I still do plenty of stupid things. My wife keeps a catalog of them. I am still a guy, after all.
It’s just that when I do stupid things now, it’s because I want to, not because someone called me a fraidy-cat chicken jellyfish.
I discovered my newfound crust against cajoling the other day when the roads turned into sheets of ice — and I stayed home.
It used to be fun, adventurous, MANLY to challenge the elements. It’s what guys did. If you didn’t, you were just a namby-pamby loser.
Now that I’ve passed 60 calendars, I’m understanding the wisdom of staying warm and dry.
“Any man who’s a real man is jamming it into four-wheel drive and running these roads today,” a younger man jeers. “What are you, a sissy?”
That taunt used to be enough to get me shrugging into my boots and wrapping a scarf …
The younger guy scoffs, “You wear a frilly thingy around your neck, sissy?”
… As I was saying, shrugging into my boots and, uh, baseball cap and sunglasses, and revving up the engine. I was compelled to prove my worth.
With a few decades of seasoning, I find that now, I don’t really care. Go ahead, call me “soft,” “chicken,” “wimpy” or “boring.” My old man force field deflects all your petty insults.
Just don’t call me when you’re stuck in the ditch when it’s 2 degrees and blowing outside. I traded my tow chains for slipper socks and a comfy lap blanket.
Label me a pansy if you must, but I’m not the “real man” who sunk his fancy four-wheel-drive into the ditch and can’t get out. I’m sitting right here in front of my fake fireplace with an eggnog in one hand and the remote control in the other.
Phone one of your buddies with a big truck. Guys with big trucks live for blasting through blizzards, powering through mud and climbing over rocks and rills.
I live for another piece of warm strawberry-rhubarb pie.
“Hey, pie boy, is that a Tonka toy?” sneers a younger guy glancing at my vehicle. “Why don’t you get a big honkin’ truck, a MAN’S truck, like mine?”
I yawn. “What are your plans for the weekend?” I ask.
“Let’s see,” the youngster muses, “Beth asked me to help her move. Lance wants me to tow a wagon to his work site. Alfie wants to borrow me and my truck to pick up a refrigerator …”
Exactly. That’s why I don’t want a manly truck. I don’t have time to get my own stuff done, let alone trot off to everyone else’s business. If that makes me a wussy mama’s boy, this boy knows that when his mama calls, it’s for me, not an angle to con me and my big truck into servitude.
Oh, and you can quit trying to rile me with cracks about a frilly scarf or anything else I wish to wear. My sense of fashion panic began failing after high school and declined through middle age until it lapsed into blissful unconsciousness.
Peer pressure says stripes can’t be worn with plaids? Nonsense. If it’s warm, comfortable and fits, I’m wearing it.
The wisdom that comes with age is this — peer pressure? Pshaw! Have fun in your truck.
• Try to bring Cole back to his senses at email@example.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.