Thursday, May 21, 2009

Listen, My Son
Installment 1: What Every Man Should Be/Know

My Son, as you live, move, and have your being as a boy in the modern world, you will no doubt come across those who will tell you what it is that A Man must be or know. There will be those who grant these opinions to you without solicitation--the majority of these sources should be immediately disregarded (anyone in a commercial, any scarcely-dressed woman who is not your wife, anyone whom you do not regard to be A Man himself). Others (The Honorable Mr. John Wesley Wallace, for one) will perhaps seem to broadside you with an axiom out of nowhere or perhaps more often than you desire. Deftly delivered or bold and bludgeoning, heed Proverbs 15.32 - "Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence." My Son, a few things come to mind as you consider what A Man must be or know:

1. A Man Does Not Need to Know How to Grill

Above is perhaps the single greatest misconception about manhood in the culture into which you have been born. It is not mine to know how Grilling came to be regarded as one of the defining characteristics of a modern man, yet men, women, and children will speak of grilling as if it were a great American Sacrament.

Be on your guard! Home improvement warehouses will summon you to bow down in covetous idolatry at the stainless steel shrines to smoked sausage and lamb shanks in their stores. Be wary! The host of many a backyard picnic will boast and brag about his 17-step procedure for producing perfect ribs (which may not be distinguishable from any others you have tasted). Other men will speak of unwritten laws regarding touching another man's grill utensils or flipping fillets on a grill not your own. Such binding of your Man Conscience is unnecessary at best and childish and silly at worst.

Join your father next to his Weber as he grills if you want. Debate your friends about the merits of gas grilling vs. charcoal grilling if you must. Stock your pantry with an arsenal of marinades, rubs, and utensils. Work at it, experiment, and perfect the practice of cooking excellent meat if you feel so moved. Just please remember that it's ultimately nothing more than cooking meat.