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by Susan, Wife of John

Below the glass ceiling, where most people earn their keep, the wage fault lengthens a bit each year upon the workplace floor. In some spots, the crack is wide enough to catch, and chew up, an unwary pump. Every so often we're apt to see yet another (chagrined, or just plain angry) woman hobble down the hall. Some wear wide-leg pants, their hems nearly touching the floor, concealing ace wrappings 'round swollen ankles. Others proudly display their swells and scrapes, as if they were wounds sustained in a holy secular war. One of the women oughta do Motrin, or something, for the pain must be clouding her appreciation for contemporary metaphors. Get a grip, honey. The better educated ones wink at each other in passing. They know that a warrior for social justice and a combat veteran aren't so different after all. Both have known battle. As for old people and their outmoded ideas (from long-dead statesmen – whose writings no one reads anyhow), their technical incompetence (relentless fumbling through instruction manuals) and general unwillingness to change (1) soon enough, time will reduce to dust their cracked bindings, yellow pages.

She claims the fault appeared shortly after the old building was demolished. Predictably, she'll tell you something about that "grand old place," its beams of solid oak, of wide windows that allowed Sol's rays, and fresh (cold) air to come within; of rooms swept daily (instead of weekly); of sturdy metal desks – which took two men to move. Get this! A while back she related a "theory," repeated by her grandmother – something about bedrock (as if there's only one type) being able to handle only so much pressure; that too much sedimentary erosion (redistribution) will create gaps, tremors. (2) But that's not all. Her "research" includes an old volume, which, having nothing to do with strata, alludes to a supposed great quake which shook the Levant region around the 8th Century B.C. (3) What do people like to know anyway? She must have gotten hold of a 101 text, read part of a few chapters out of it, and before or after it, seen a program on PBS. And now she's a worksite-seismology pundit? Please!

Everybody knows the faults began marring Gaia's face long ago. Back then the seismologists didn't recognize (or simply ignored) the cracks, and attributed the accompanying tremors to her acting out (4) in defiance of her tectonic duties. Her brother, Mt. Hur, (5) for millenia, towered, smouldered, sometimes erupted, whenever it darn well suited him. Now his remains crumble onto beaches, ranch houses, industrial parks, Wall Street. His plutonic vital, exposed, is at the mercy of (controlled) climate forecasts – paybacks are a bitch. People of the Crystal gather near the extinct volcano's base, celebrate his downfall, flaunt their graven graphs heavenward and to each other. (6) Amid the harsh flashing of colored lights, the musky odor of cheap perfume, the (obnoxious) din of (monotone) voices chant over and over again, "It's About Suppression;" (7) the electrified instruments, still called guitars,(8) loudly, repeatedly (w)rap hedonism as self esteem. Three thousand some years, a geological millisecond, but long enough for Moloch's (recent) gender modification process. The masses offer up their children – both unborn and born – to androgynous IT. (9) Masters of their own lucrative destinies, they party down; devil take the helots (who couldn't cut it in the Market), who mix and serve (not fast enough), the sweetened booze.

After an unkempt looking man had finished a "song" about something not being "tight enough... stick it up my..." (10) upon the center platform there appeared a grungy foursome; using grammar enough to embarrass a high-school drop-out, and terms enough to repulse a sailor. The "music" sounded as if it had been composed and finalized on a roll of toilet paper during a mid-morning 10-minute break. A tremor interrupted most of the first stanza – not that anyone noticed; something about cages, and that certain word describing canines in estrus. How typical. Here, a puzzled look – rationalized with a laugh and a shot to chase it away (well, at least for awhile), over there in the corner – something else was swallowed. Near the back of the (self)-drunken throng, a squeaky little blonde began biting one of her manicured fingernails. The old woman (with the HMO'd ankle), tired of wasting time and money in this mindless place; felt a presence of nervous intelligence. Of all places to possibly find a friend, the old woman found a place nearby and stood – the ankle not throbbing quite as much. This isn't good, (11) the silent understanding passed between the two women. Like two SpeakEasy patrons, upon noticing a few prominent members from a rival syndicate mingling with the crowd, the women headed silently for a nearby exit. Sneaking down the debris-strewn alley, they helped each other over a metal fence, hot-wired a vehicle, (12) and left Gomorpolis far behind.

Holy Smoke! Indeed it was! Ahead, a distant column rose skyward, while their fuel gauge descended E-ward. The wind began picking up. From a nearby row of corn, a father and son appeared and began walking in the black column's direction. The two women passed an oak grove. Beneath it, a husband and wife were quickly filling a basket with items from their preempted picnic. Near the edge of a small town, the car began to sputter. Seeing a supermarket ahead, they pulled over, and managed to park it beside a minivan. Across the twig-littered street, a group of teenagers, accompanied by a bearded elder, appeared from a Synagogue which sat between a theater and a hardware store. As the two women began walking toward a group of adults gathered in front of a library, the younger woman overheard one of the teens, walking nearby, saying something to his buddy, about a story woven within Godzilla's script – the two youths exchanged a street hand-shake. Behind them, another youth chased after a small child's baseball cap.

The men, women and children of the rural community left the roadside and began crossing a field of wheat. Passing a stack of granite boulders left from a previous glacial age, the people paused for a moment or two, and some removed their shoes. The young woman couldn't help but notice, while her older companion unwrapped the bandage, that the swollen redness was gone – completely! She didn't notice the admiring glances coming from a few of the young men. The older woman did. Not saying a word, she quietly smiled, knowing that any reasons her young friend might harbor for looking back from where they came, were rapidly disappearing. Their eyes on the column, all joined hands in prayer, led by a Clergyman. In the distance, mighty bolts pierced the dark clouds gathered above; glowing chunks of red and orange shot up from the rumbling earth, where a small mound grew. Mother Nature and her lawful (13) Husband Sol were the proud parents of a hardy son. The prophesy unfolding, he'll soon rise to avenge his older brother who'd so ruthlessly been murdered by the blatantly unclean hands of a maladjusted mob. And he'll restore his mother's honor which had been taken and defecated on (14) congressional floors by the same rabble (professing a revolution of diversity and compassion). A silent understanding amongst the congregation; that (the Lord, their God's) holy forces would inevitably render buildings, cars, books, linens, beneath strata and, again, provide men the incentive to keep His Commandments – free themselves and protect their families from buying into double-talk; of personhood and its "easy payments" coming from a certain branch-skulker.


(1) Biologically, we're still hunter-gatherers raising our families, minding our own business, and needing fresh air and adequate space. (Human Zoo, Desmond Morris, p. 16). Democracy, man's original government. p. 34; underemployed men, behind the times, a bunch of sore losers, honked at women's success in the workplace. (Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, Susan Faludi, p. 66.) Comes off as bitterly smug, then condescendingly sympathetic for these men's economic situation; War? Hey, we gals are veterans, and we being serious about getting a Master's, oughta be entitled to similar benefits; and, by the way, such a measure wouldn't cost a taxpayer nearly as much as that GI Bill (Feminine Mystique, 20th Anniversary Ed., Betty Friedan, p 370.).

(2) Ronald Reagan's 1982 speech on the economy (Faludi p. 67).

(3) Book of Isaiah, Holy Bible. Males running over men, 3:5. Children bossing their elders about, 3:12. Women finding themselves on the outs, 3:25-26, 4:1. The survivors, 4:2-6.

(4) Eighteenth Century husbands were quick to brow-beat their wives with threats of locking them up in the looney bin. (Beyond Power: On Women, Men and Morals, Marilyn French, pp. 372-3.). Volume, honked at men throughout, has more endnotes than a barroom has excuses; however, this extremely harsh

statement is backed up with only one endnote, (#127) a review of a book by Lawrence Stone, entitled "Madness."

(5) Hur, Hohe, Hara-Indo-European words for God of the Mountain. (When God was a Mountain, Merlin Stone, pp. 74-78).

(6) Answers the question of who's dialing 1-900-HOR-SCOP, and addresses the need for church fathers to (take the time and effort) learn how to convey God-as-He-is to women. (Scandal of Gender: Early Christian Teaching on the Man and Woman, Patrick Mitchell, p. 105).

(7) Ad slogan for a drug which suppresses symptoms of an (at present) incurable and contagious venereal disease.

(8) Those loud guitars, while obnoxious and offensive, are nothing but slackers' tantrums. (Resentment Against Achievement: Understanding the Assault Upon Ability, Robert Scheaffer, pp. 120-121).

(9) Last Spring at work downloaded an e-Mail from an official in-box. Was mesmerized by the stately image of a beautiful sky goddess. The text appeared, revealing she was a he, for the message conveyed the good news of Jesus, bringing hope and renewal to all. Gee, is there a problem with Jesus being (as he is) masculine? Minimizing differences between men and women confuses people in matters of dating and commitment. (Mitchell, p. 144). Busy-body economy, pandering on man's insecurities serves to denigrate father's important role while mother dons the pants (to help make ends meet) the role merger confuses the children as to what's male and what's female. (Morris, p. 69).

(10) That certain bit of trash, labeled typically top-40, its putrid slime hit the charts during the late 80's. The barroom DJ's still (religiously) recycle it come any Friday or Saturday night. Somebody chuck it once and for all, puleaze!

(11) Titus 2:3.

(12) Vehicles. In the process of learning what every hunter and peasant has known throughout human existence.

(13) Hammurabi receives laws from the Sun God. (Peloubet's Bible Dictionary, p. 234). Laws Come from the Gods, Francois Chamoux, Civilization of Greece, trans. W.S. Maguinness, p. 323).

(14) Friedan. Housewife as a pseudo-intellectual (for starters), p. 192. Women's work, if painting landscapes doesn't earn money, it's a waste, p. 348. Mom's dilettante, p. 371. Bet reading this stuff makes girls feel real good about themselves.

from: Eric Ziercher


I am interested in joining (or forming) a small men's support group. Please contact Eric if you have an opening or wish to help him begin a new group.

Thanks, Dick Gilkeson, Mentor Page Editor

Have an article for this column? Send it to Dick at 16448 NW McNamee Road, Portland, OR 97231.