Tag Archives: Fraternity

My Hands For War

It was 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Along the brownish yellowish hill, covered with brush and dried bushes spread through desert-like conditions are run-down buildings. They looked as if a bomb had landed and incinerated all life, and all that remained were remnants of a civilization.  Men are attacking each other on two fronts, using what’s left of the buildings as cover. Some of the men have fallen, some are wounded. Some are hidden in the bushes as snipers, preparing to make a fateful shot. Heart beats are racing, adrenaline is pumping. I can’t think, but I am only sure of three things: 1. My gun has stalled. 2. I was just shot. 3. My side may be losing. It looked hopeless. This is what I get for starting this fight with my gun–my paintball gun.

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Playing paint ball with my fraternity was fun, but the heat was not. Sure, I complained about the heat until I realized that it gave me a small taste of the lives of soldiers stationed in the Middle East.  Unlike the soldiers halfway across the world, my danger wasn’t real. It was simulated. If I shot another man or if I had gotten shot, we wouldn’t have lost our limbs or our lives. We could just go home, shower off, and enjoy the comfort of the air conditioner. There are no real stakes with paint balling. No one really dies.

But I began thinking about the paint ball gun while holding it. Pressing the trigger and shooting at other people gave me a thrill–a cheap thrill. It gave us a sense of freedom as men. We were allowed to be aggressive without anyone holding us back. But why do men love guns or weapons? Why are we drawn to violence? It’s the story of men in almost every society all the way to ancient times.

A majority of violent video games are created for men, more specifically teenage boys. We have fun killing simulated people. Maybe that’s just the way we were made. Maybe we just love living out these fantasies of James Bond or Rambo. Or maybe because that’s how our culture is raising us. More than a hundred years ago, many men were still hunting for food. And now, only a few of us actually do. Those who don’t hunt buy food at the supermarket. We removed the thrill of the hunt–of the danger. Back then men were trained for readied aggression. The Wild Wild West, the pioneers, even back to the settlers taught their sons how to use a gun because it was a necessity to live. But using a gun today isn’t a useful or treasured skill. We’ve become a pacifist sort of generation.

Now, I’m not advocating for violence or guns or anything of that sort. I just think it’s interesting that men’s behavior of violence and aggression hasn’t changed much the last thousand years. We still train men to fight like the Spartans. We love UFC and boxing and anything that has the risk of death because we want to defy it. We men love blood and guts. We exert our masculinity through dominating another.

As violent as we men have the potential to be, there is one good thing that comes out of it. You may think I’m a male chauvinist pig for saying the following, but I do admire our need to protect. We have such a strong desire; it’s almost as if it’s our purpose for living–perhaps we are wired to protect and seek justice or retribution when we fail at protecting. We long to protect those that we love, that we are willing to lose our lives if it means that our loved ones survive.

That’s my masculine identity revealed–not that I love violence or that I am violent myself. I just simply wonder why violence and aggression translates well for men.

I love this very masculine Bible verse:

“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, Who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.” Psalm 144:1  (ESV)

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Filed under Christianity, Entertainment, Life

My Drinking Problem Or The Lack There Of

Photo Credit: InImagine

Photo Credit: InImagine

According to old English Common Law, “A man’s home is his castle.” If that is true, then aside from the couch being a sort of throne, perhaps the toilet is like a side throne. In either case, a man spends some time on these two equally important thrones. In America, a man sits on his couch, drinks beer, and watches TV. And in his younger days, a man lies down on his couch, passed out from his excessive drinking. At least, that’s the stereotype. On the other hand, a man conducts all kinds of business on the comfort of his toilet seat, even reading magazines and newspapers while sitting. And in his younger days, he would vomit into the toilet from his excessive drinking. Thank God I’m not the Australian man who had to get rushed into the emergency room after sitting on a toilet that was pranked with fast-acting adhesive. No, my problem is drinking.

But not exactly the kind of drinking problem you may automatically be thinking. I am a 23-year-old male college student/graduate, but that doesn’t mean I binge drink. You see, (now this may be a bit graphic for some people), I went to urinate today and discovered that my urine wasn’t quite as clear or light-colored as it should be. Diagnosis? My drinking problem is that I don’t drink enough water. Sure, everyone knows that drinking alcohol gets you dehydrated, and therefore you need to combat that with drinking water. But for me, it’s all those Starbucks caramel machiattos, those Tapiaco Express boba milk teas, and those Arizona sweet teas that have led to the downfall of my urine. This was quite a wake-up call to me. There you have it. I am not ashamed of my drinking problem, and chances are you aren’t too, because you may be suffering just like I am, being dehydrated and not know it! As a result, I’ve decided to be an amateur advocate promoting the healthy drinking of water. According to nutrition experts, “a good estimate is to take your body weight in pounds and divide that number in half. That gives you the number of ounces of water per day that you need to drink.” In my case (and I’m a little sensitive about revealing this to you), I currently weigh 195 pounds (yes, I’m working on losing 30 pounds). That means that I should be drinking 97.5 ounces of water daily.

You may wonder why I am promoting the “healthy drinking of water.” You may think that it’s redundant, that water is healthy for us anyway because it flushes out all the filthy stuff in our bodies and refuel our cells and giving us some energy. That’s all true, but drinking too much water too quickly is also bad for you–it can even kill you. You can have “water intoxication,” just like the tragic story of 28-year-old Jennifer Strange. A local radio station contest held the “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest in 2008 when the Wii just came out. Strange drank  some six liters of water in three hours for the contest and was found dead in her home. Another incident involved a 21-year-old male student from California State University, Chico back in 2005. According to the Scientific American, he  died after being “forced to drink excessive amounts of water between rounds of push-ups in a cold basement” during a fraternity hazing gone wrong. As tragic as their stories were, it educated me about the dangers of excessive water-drinking, especially because our health-conscious  culture tells us to drink plenty of water. Now we know how much is “healthy.”

I know I’m a strange person for even examining my urine. But I’m a curious college student. And this curiosity led to a scientific exploration of my dehydration. Now, I hope you too will drink more water instead of all that other junk. And I hope you will drink water responsibly too!

For now, I’m trying to control my Starbucks addiction. In the mean time (and this is bad timing), Jamba Juice has a special promotion until September 27, 2009. If you buy one smoothie, you can get one 16oz. smoothie for a buck if you print out the coupon.

Photo Credit: InImagine

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Filed under Issues/Causes, Life, Masculinity