Great Abs & Ordinary Heroes

If you walk into any large retail bookstore and look around for the section on Men’s Studies or Men’s Work, it may not be easy to find.  If the store even has one, you’ll discover only a shelf or two in a seldom seen section, tucked away in the back somewhere.   By comparison the Women’s Studies section will be prominently featured, with colorful book spines in purples, pinks and red and take up many shelves covering a wide variety of topics and issues.

I make this observation not to whine about unfairness, but instead to make a couple of points about men and myth.  First, the commercial print acts as if very few men, dads or sons are reading about,  writing about or caring about what I call, being and becoming a whole man, inner and outer.  Thankfully there is some good writing  out here in the blogosphere.  Some of my favorites are listed on the right.   The second point, is that the men that do appear as heroic figures in popular print and film seem to fall into some very narrow roles:  its either swashbuckler, chronic alcoholic/drug abuser or serial killer/assassin.   They generally have great abs, but not much satisfaction.  (Thank you, Mick Jagger.)

I pass on all of the categories listed above.

Although the ideas are useful in understanding the source of the inspiration to write these words.   I already know what it is, that I want for today and the one after that.     All I want is to be and become the most complete and sublime expression of a father and son that I can be.  I want to be my very own ordinary hero.


Here’s this morning’s sunrise.   Its rising earlier each day and moving steadily north along the horizon toward’s downtown Denver.   The specks on the water by the way, are sleeping ducks.


  1. I really appreciated reading The Way of the Peaceful Warrior and almost felt a tinge of resentment that a feminine equivalent has not been written. This does not include a father/son relationship. I think you have found a gap in the market that could be filled with your vision.

    • I agree! There is so much more to be done with the father/son connection and I do hope to continue to fill up the gap you describe. In a mythological sense, whether or not Icarus survives or even thrives, depends a great deal upon the role that the father plays. After all, it was the father, Daedalus, that invented the wings.


  2. I read your comment on the freshly pressed article about hats, and I followed it to your blog. Good stuff. I was just talking with my (wonderful) dad last night about the tremendous influence fathers have on their children. By being present and loving or absent and destructive, they can make or break their kids’ world. I’m just incredibly blessed to have a dad who still says “I love you” every time we say goodbye or hang up the phone, and who still fixes my Jeep or retrieves my keys when I lock them inside (with the engine still running).

    But he’s not just a good dad in the traditional, Hollywood “manly” ways. I have the flu right now, and just last night Dad fixed me some chicken soup and ginger ale to make me feel better. I’m 21 years old, and in a lot of ways he’s had to let go of me and let me grow up, but last night he took care of me as if I were still a kid. I guess that’s because I’ll always be, as he frequently reminds me, his “Little Lee-Lee.”

    No, he doesn’t have great abs, but I think he’s very satisfied.


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