A Man

Took me over a year to find something good I could sink my teeth into and took me just over a day to finish reading it.

One hundred and forty-eight pages of beautifully written prose by a woman that needs no accolades by this poor excuse of an essayist, so I won’t waste your time or my poor writing skills trying to do so.

There were so many things about Toni Morrison’s book, “Home,” that can be written and talked about, so why does a two worded answer to a simple question resonant with me so?

The 24 year old African American Korean War Vet and main character of the book, asks a simple, direct question of a very bright eleven year old who had his arm shot up as an eight year old by an over zealous cop:

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

The eleven year old’s straightforward (and highly profound) response:

“A man.”

Not a scientist, a doctor, a teacher or postal worker. 

Thomas, the pride and joy of his parents, who has scholarships pouring in from all over the country, simply wants to be, a man.

This eleven year old, People, just wanted to make it to manhood.

Chew on that for a minute.

The story takes place in the 1950s, but here we are in 2023 and I worry that we could get the same response from other precocious (and not so precocious), eleven year olds today.

What a pity that we are so technologically, medically, etc., advanced in so many areas today, but still continue to be so very backward and ignorant in so many other areas.

Education and intelligent discussion helps. Withholding information, proselytizing, and politicizing does not.

It’s 2023, People, we shouldn’t still be having eleven year olds worried that they won’t make it to manhood because of the color of their skin, their sexual orientation or their cultural heritage.

Life’s too short and too precious to waste on such nonsense. 

But what do I know? I’m ornery and old.

Have a nice day and I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at life from my shoes.