I never beat my wife, a right married men still possess in some countries.
Neither do I spuriously bash my kids on the sides of their heads. I go to my
practice each day and look down the throats of wheezing infected children and
listen to adults bellyaching about their HMOs. I pray before getting into bed
each night. Furthermore, my soul's slate is buffered by regular attendance at
Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation. If I have committed my share of
sins, God will forgive me. Normal men are led astray, this is a fact of life,
more so than women are. This is why the prison system houses more men than
women. One must take everything into account, that is, the boredom of conjugal
life after the second year, and the endless trouble my kids cause me.
This morning, for instance, before I could escape my house to get to the golf
course, my two boys ran the lawn mower over a rock and displaced the rotary
blade. Half the lawn had been cut -- the little rascals probably did it on
purpose. And half a lawn cut looks worse than half a haircut. The mower would
have to be taken to a repair shop, and I will be compelled to borrow a
neighbor's mower to finish the lawn. If there is something I detest above all
else -- I even prefer women's work to this -- it is the thought of being a
There are plenty of neighbors on the block who would be pleased to give me a
lawn care machine for an afternoon, but my neighbors' goodwill will not appease
me. I despise the type of individual who cannot live within his own means, who
has to depend on other people. It simply is not fair to those people who do not
depend on others. That's why I have little respect for foreign countries that
expect my country to bail them out of trouble. If you have to borrow something,
it is that very something you thought you could live without; therefore, it is
preferable to live without it, rather than trying to borrow it from someone
Under these terms, borrowing is like stealing. I teach my kids this lesson, too
bad the schools and television teach them otherwise. The world has lost the
true meaning of the word sacrifice: "living without borrowing."
But there are exceptions to my principle. Say, if the lawn mower can't be fixed
in a day or two. . . for there is one thing more important than not being
considered a mooch by everyone, and that is having a well-groomed lawn around
your house. An untidy, ragged lawn attracts dogs -- a dog owner feels less
guilty about the dog doing its business on untidy lawn.
And for suffering the humiliation of having to borrow a lawn mower, I will take
it out on my boys' rear ends. Indeed, I might lose control of my temper and
lapse into a savage state of mind and destroy my entire family. I have a gun in
my doctor's bag beneath the stethoscope. At least, this might be an impulse,
but it passes before I can find the bag. Everyone is safe for now.
I do not admit to being perfect, to being a civilized individual to the core,
but could God, society, or my wife hold against me one or two admitted
The End of Travel, Robert Castle's comic memoir of a European journey taken when he was a young man, is available for purchase from elimae's affiliate, Triple Press.