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Ketchup Bottles and Manhood
by Jack Kean

I sat down in the aptly named "waiting" room at the doctor’s office and my attention was drawn to a seductively posed woman on the cover of Esquire Magazine. Disregarding Over 55 and similar publications, I immediately grabbed the Esquire. After fully appreciating the cover photo, I found my attention drawn to a very large teaser for 14 pages guaranteed to make me a better man.

While I’m not totally convinced I need to become a better man, others may have a contrary opinion. Was it possible that any of these 14 pages could apply to me? I quickly thumbed to the section in question and began learning what it would take to become a better man.

The first article was titled, “How To Disarm A Gunman.” Excuse me? Here it is the twenty-first century and the measure of a man is whether he can disarm a gunman? I don’t think so. After a career in law enforcement I can assure you that attempting to disarm a gunman ought to be darn near the last thing on earth you want to do. If this is something that comes up in your life on a regular basis, trust me, you are doing something wrong.

“How To Fire Someone” was the second winning entry.

Oh yeah, this is great stuff. First I disarm the guy, then I fire him for good measure, or vice versa. One of the intriguing suggestions made here was to get someone else to do it. Getting someone else to do the dirty work hardly seems the path to becoming a better man.

The next article I perused was, ”How To Get Ketchup Out Of A Bottle.” I’m not kidding. Clearly, this is one of the great challenges of mankind and a requirement for being a better man. Who came up with this stuff?

Then there was, “How To Start A Fire Without Matches.” Hey, a better man carries matches. We invented them so we wouldn’t have to make fire with a stick.

“How To Replace A Toilet,” and “How To Do a 180 Degree Turn” were other helpful pieces. I never thought the ability to replace a toilet was the true measure of a man--unless he happened to be a plumber. And where will I practice making these 180-degree turns? How often are they really necessary?

Then there were great articles about carving a turkey and removing stains. Darn, we men have to be versatile.

“Hi honey, I just disarmed a gunman, fired my secretary and got some ketchup out of a bottle. Unfortunately, it got on my new shirt, so now I’ll get that stain out and be back in a jif to carve the turkey.”

Other suggestions contained in the 14 pages included not attending church drunk and never re-heating anything containing tuna. There was also the required reminder to put down the toilet seat. That seems to be a major problem for the fair sex.

There’s just so darn much for men to remember these days. It’s not just hunting and fishing and football anymore.

“Pass the ketchup please.”



Jack Kean is a native Mississippian who currently resides in Pelham, Alabama. He is the author of Deadly Sacrifice and Being From The South Doesn’t Make Me Stupid. He is a regular columnist for Modern Senior Living and a contributing columnist to Sand Mountain Living, Tombigbee Country Magazine, SO&SO and other publications.

You may contact him at kean54@yahoo.com or through his website http://kean55.tripod.com.

And for more of Jack's stories, try these links:
"RV Freewheelin'" at rvfreewheelin.com
"Old Grouch Restaurant Reviews" at OldGrouch.synthasite.com
"Bodock Post" at BodockPost.com
"Hey, Paw, We Got Bagels?" at USADEEPSOUTH.com
"One Half Serving of Grits, Please" at USADEEPSOUTH.com

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