Bathsheba, who is now ensconced in the beer-soaked world of college, was home for a few days for a “breather.” I thought the people that needed “breathers” were boxers in a ring between rounds or big offensive linemen who were seen sucking oxygen out of a mask. I never thought that girls in a dormitory, painting each other’s toenails and ogling boys, (with the occasional opening of a book), would need a “breather” from the dungeons of sweat that we call college.
Apparently, after three weeks she had had enough of the misery and suffering of higher learning and decided to rescue me from my peaceful, serene, and untroubled existence ever since I saw her car disappear on the horizon.
Only this time she came to heavily armed. One of her classes was called “Feminist Studies.” I am reminded of the saying: “Sometimes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” All that I know is that after about 3 weeks into an entire semester, Bathsheba was armed with a little bit of knowledge. Let me say right off that Bathsheba has never been very tolerant of men in the first place and to say that there has been a little bit of conflict between us is like saying there is a little bit of ice in Antarctica. Armed with her “Feminist Studies.” left her in search of a perpetrator and I, based only on my gender, was accused of being solely responsible for the oppression of women over the ages.
Remember from your history studies how women once could not vote. Apparently, that was my fault. You know how they are still underpaid in the corporate world? That’s my fault too. Unequal opportunity? My fault. The fact that women’s sports do not get as much TV coverage as men’s sports? I did that.
You may have surmised by now that the exchange of ideas and the discourse between Bathsheba and I lacks even the level of warmth and harmony that one would find at a food fight. She is relentless in telling me where men have gone wrong. Raking fingernails over a chalkboard would seem like warm music compared to the primal screech she uses as a basic communication tool. When arguing, she adopts a one hundred megaton scorched earth policy.
At first, I felt up to the task of enjoying a little bout of respectful argument with someone who was beginning to cut her teeth in the world of academia. I suggested that the breaking out of the oppression many women felt was actually a breaking away from the traditional roles that religion, biology, culture and custom had established and it was not necessarily a conscious effort on behalf of all men to be overbearing sots.
That strategy was like facing a tsunami with a sump pump. She was not going to allow any of that sort of stone age thinking to exist.
I then tried to defend myself with alibis and reason. I tried to convince her that back when men were hitting women over the heads with clubs as part of the courting ritual, that, due to an accident of a late birthdate that I was not physically present. I found out real quick that trying such a weak counter measure as reason and logic was like trying to blow out a light bulb.
When I finally realized that I was worn down sufficiently that surrender was the only short cut to any peace in my future, I was ready to apologize for all the countless things that all men have done through the ages and throw myself on the mercy of the court. The trouble is, in this particular court, Bathsheba was the judge, jury and executioner. She does not want apologies. She wants a flaming, still beating heart on a kabob!
There are those of you who read this that have accused me of exaggerating at times. OK, OK, I admit that I sometimes exaggerate, . . . a little. In this case, she doesn’t really care if the heart is still beating.
I am a believer in natural justice. I believe that what goes around, comes around. And my “conversation” with Bathsheba only brought back memories of a smart-alecky kid who came home from a few short months at college for a Thanksgiving meal and tried to straighten out the foolish, narrow thinking of his father. That was back in the mid 60’s and that guy who’s stone age thinking had to be reshaped by his smart-aleck college-age son was none other than my own dad.
I was likely just as adamant in my own new found beliefs and just as intolerant of his horse and buggy thinking. After all, how does mere experience in life stack up against textbooks?
The funny thing, however, is that the more educated I got, the more I sought his counsel and the benefit of just accumulating a lifetime of experiences. It seemed that every time I finished a class, he got a little smarter.
It is all part of the cycle of life I guess. One day I am sure it will be Bathsheba having to listen to one of her own children “straighten her out” because she obviously has no clue what is really happening. And Maybe, if I am lucky, I will be sitting off somewhere in a corner, old and brittle, all bent and misshapen but happily drooling on myself as I witness the scene. The cycle of life. Natural justice.