As Good As It Goats

Oh, Matt–poor, innocent, optimistic, misguided, p-whipped, idiotic, clinging-to-your-heydey-like-a-life-raft Matt…your wife doesn’t care if you are happy, fulfilled, barely getting  out of bed in the morning, suicidal, or other such nonsense…she just wants you to get a life…and one which…incidentally…DOES NOT include beekeeping as a preferred hobby.  Sure, we all rooted for you in Broken Hallelujah: notes from a marriage; in fact, we found it just too damn adorable (sexy, even) that you left your brokerage firm to become Mr. Mom and raise the three spirited, slightly unkempt, and eternally clever progeny which sprung from your loving wife’s loins.  But beekeeping…BEEKEEPING…I mean, really, what were you thinking…

But the good news, Matt, is that you are-apparently-not the only member of the male gender with a desire to dominate, not the only male begrudgingly coming to terms with the reality of his subpar status (no matter his “contribution” or his protest) in the family unit.  That’s right–you are not alone:

R (somewhat wistfully):  “I have always wanted to be a shepherd, to command a flock, to lead and to be listened to, dammit, for once in my adult life.  So imagine the joy–the sheer delight–I felt upon learning that I had moved my family–my wife and four children–into a volatile Southern California cavern, known for both its beauty and its property destroying wild fires.  Finally, I had my chance.  The type of herd I chose was simply the perfect, no-the only, choice.  Goats, lots of goats, many, many untrained ill-tempered brush-eating goats.  Their delivery would be a surprise, a gift, to my adoring and supportive brood.  The one small glitch, the tiny potentially inconsequential timing issue I had overlooked, was that the projected delivery time of the fifty young, eager, property-saving, and untrained goats was about two hours after I left the country for a brief two-month work assignment.  I simply thought my resourceful family could improvise until I returned.  Sadly, I was wrong.”

A (somewhat angrily):  “Was he out of his fucking mind?!?  Four kids, fifty goats…he was lucky I was too busy trying to save our rose bushes to actually finalize the hit I had fantasized about as I frantically dialed his cell phone number…again…and again…as he was presumably enjoying top-shelf cocktails on his first class flight to only G-d knows where…”

R (somewhat contritely):  “As soon as we landed and I listened to the two dozen angry, tearful, almost pleading, practically desperate, and, at times, threatening messages from my better half, I jumped right into action mode, and, though practically three–ok-four or five–sheets in the wind from my drink-riddled first class flight, took complete control of the situation.  I called my able seconds, my two teenage sons, and instructed them, down to the smallest detail, the intricacies of their mission.

Listen…we have a situation…mom is mad…really mad…she is freaking out…I need your help..NOW!  First, go to Uncle Joe’s house, and borrow his trailer…the one he transports his horses in…enlist his help in gathering up each and every goat…and get them in that trailer.  Second, call So Cal Brush Control at (555) 555-5555 and convince them to take the damn goats, at least until I get back and I can firmly and lovingly and shepherdly train them…offer the goats’ services for free–yes, free–you know, giving back and all that…then text me their response.  If they are a no go, call animal control at (555) 969-6969 and explain the situation…good intentions and your mom freaking out…feel free to cry for good measure…have Uncle Joe help to deliver the goats, get them settled in their pens, feed them and let them know as soon as I am home…anyway, are you getting this?  Do you understand?  Come on, boys, I need your help…”

A (somewhat resignedly):  “And what they heard in their not-yet-fully-developed-self-centered teenage brains, while clinging to their surf boards and counting the minutes until the surf would NOT be up, was blah, blah, blah, get rid of the goats, blah, blah, blah…”

R (somewhat tersely):  “The surprise was that they could even fit all of those goats into a hybrid…and they didn’t get stopped, not once, as they made the half-mile trip to the patch of woods behind the local elementary school.  I mean, of course the goats didn’t know they were supposed to stay in the woods, or that they weren’t supposed to be eating the garden that the second grade had planted and tended over the better part of the school year…I mean they are only animals, after all…stupid, untrained, ill-tempered animals just waiting for some loving guidance from a shepherd’s…well, never mind that…what I am saying is that I thought more of my boys’ ability to follow simple instructions regarding goats, I mean, really…”

A (somewhat wearily):  “I think the fact that we weren’t actually kicked out of our community is the important take away here…and the end result was the right result–even though your work assignment location was outside the area of cell service, so we couldn’t consider your input when we sold your herd of goats for half of what you paid for them to the starry-eyed would be shepherd (and husband and father of five) two towns over…”

So, Matt and R, I think we can all agree that while being master of one’s domain is an understandable and worthy pursuit, perhaps the pursuit of a less tricky, less divisive, less animate domain is the lesson here–to quote Mr. McGuire from the classic 1967 film, The Graduate:  “I just want to say one word to you.  Just one word.  Are you listening?  Plastics.”

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