4.02.2006

The Proverb Goes: "Revenge is a dish best served cold"

As I may have talked about before, I was raised to be a fierce advocate of gender equality. I was forbidden from watching shows that were deemed degrading to women, and to be aware from an early age of gender bias in society and the workplace. This, like most parental notions, had it’s plusses and minuses. Often, because we’re all such simpletons, the gender issue gets mired down in the same absurd black & white thinking as the race issue, or the religion issue. Namely, the argument is put forth that “we’re all totally, exactly the same except for ________.” The blank is where you insert ‘skin color’ or ‘genitals’ or ‘kooky religious practices.’ I, at an early age, spewed this silly idea about whenever the opportunity presented itself. That and the idea that of course Superman could beat Batman in a fight and even discussing the issue was absurd.

Now, this idea (The gender one. I still stand by my Superman claim) is stupid for two reasons: one, it’s not true. Two, the precept is inherently bigoted, itself. Now, you say to me, “Byron, that’s crazy talk. Stop talking crazy.” But listen! The idea here is that we (let’s say, white people) shouldn’t be prejudice against them (let’s say, absolutely anyone now, or in history who has not been white, been white but the wrong kind of white, or been white but distantly, genealogically connected to someone who was not white) for the sole reason that they are just like us. If they were not just like us, then it would be understandable to hate them, make them sit in the back of the bus, etc. You see what I’m saying? But the fact is there are differences between genders, races, etc. Huge chasms. But these differences aren’t hierarchical, there just…you know…differences. Most of them are really interesting and fun, and then periodically infuriating.

The reason I’ve been thinking about this is because I got attacked by a dog earlier this week.

There’s a connection. Just hang in there.

I was walking my dog and we came across another dog, and after a moment of sniffing, apparently realized that they had finally, after years of searching, tracked down their sworn enemy (“So, Muffin, we meet again! Do you know the old Russian proverb about revenge?”). They go at it, determined to avenge whatever. I step in to break it up and the dog goes for me. Fine, to be fair, he didn’t go after all of me. Just my neck.

Okay, so, blah blah blah, we’re in the emergency room and many hours later a doctor sees M and me. He’s saying that dog bites are highly prone to infection and so often they don’t stitch them, since that can heighten the infection risk, but since they are highly visible they probably should. But, he tells me, it’s my call. One cut is on my chin, the one in (well, through) my lip didn’t need stitching, and the other one is a two inch gash about half a centimeter below my carotid artery (about an inch of which will likely scar).

Here is where – as a generalization, of course – a certain gender difference comes in. M can not fathom why I am slow to answer. But I’m struggling with the fact that the one on my neck is going to be such a cool scar! I know this is childish, but come on! Right below a major artery, so it involves a near miss with extreme gore and possible death, it’s on the neck so it’s visible and screams out an interesting story (granted, it implies something more interesting than the real one, but still) - I mean, damn! Cool scar at a relatively low price.

I mentioned my very real, very logical, very in-no-way-motivated-by-a-desire-for-an-interesting-scar concern about the risk of infection, but it was transparent bullshit. Fortunately, the doctor was male, and he knew exactly what I really meant (again – a female doctor might – might – have known what I was really saying, but probably not, she would have just thought I was a germaphobe. And if she did know, she probably would have thought something, reasonably so, along the lines of, “Jesus. Men.”). He said that without stitches the scars would be really ugly – like, the first thing people would look at when they meet me – but that there were going to be a couple scars regardless. Fine. Fair enough.

He did an amazing job stitching things up, though. Almost too good. Probably because he was talking about rabies, a disease he is utterly fascinated with (He bumped me up in the triage line so he could have me as a patient, “just in case”), so he was in his groove. He even let me know that he’s worked with twice as many rabies patients as anyone else in the U.S. (Which is two. It’s not a common disease).

I just found the whole male/female approach to this funny and interesting.

So, what’s my point, then? Appreciate ethnic and chromosonal differences? Nah. That’d be a good one, but to be honest, I think my point is that I got attacked by a dog and I really want people to know, but I don’t want to out-and-out brag about it.

Which is tough to do. It’s all about balance. I blew it yesterday, the first time someone asked what happened to my neck, because I didn’t want to brag, so I said, “Dog.” Yawn. Boring!

But I don’t want to go the other extreme either (“’Twas a mid-morning just like this one! A howl like the cries of the damned echoed across the park…!). Because both versions are true, they’re just different (See where I’m going with this? Christ, am I clever or what?). The key to a good brag is not to say that both extremes of the story are the same, but to appreciate that each has validity autonomous unto itself, but in conjunction with each other creates a balanced story that is both interesting, yet humble; subtle, yet complex. Not identical, but extremely complementary.

Vive le difference.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Larissa said...

Haha, yet again, another amusing story!! I can't believe that dog attacked you!

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Kelsey said...

I can't believe none of us noticed that! But I have to agree with you on the whole having a cool scar thing...it would be pretty cool to have a scar on your neck...it would make a great story!

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah, I totally noticed your scar on the neck... it was hard to see at first...

11:18 AM  

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