Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Art of Being a Guy

I was in the crew room, checking weather on the computer. One of the guys was eating something vaguely resembling lunch while others explained to him that none of the Olympic athletes depicted on the bag would ever eat anything from a fast food restaurant. Pilots will eat anything, though, so he ate it anyway. I guess he won't be competing in the next Olympic Games.

He finished his cheeseburger, then crumpled up the wrapper and declared, "Map, locker, garbage." He threw the wad of paper and it bounced off the wall map and the locker, but hit a desk on its way to the garbage can and tumbled away onto the floor. The person nearest to it could have picked it up and put it in the garbage, but the thrower asked for it back. While it was being passed, the spectators debated the bank shot and the correct sequence of bounces to get the paper bag into the bin from that side of the room.

It's what guys do. They throw things at things. I remember being stranded with another pilot at a remote airport, while we waited for company to fly in with some parts. Once we had exhausted the entertainment possibilities of walking up and down the gravel runway, the other pilot, male, set up a pebble on top of a boulder. He decreed that the name of the game was to take turns throwing rocks at the arrangement, aiming to knock the pebble off the boulder. I threw like a girl, my rocks tumbling into the ground short of the boulder and sending up a little cloud of dust. His hit nearer the mark, but the pebble remained unmoved. He threw with such serious concentration, and I realized that this throwing rocks at things game was a normal guy thing. Guys have been competing at throwing rocks at things since the development of the opposable thumb. It improves their skill in the hunt, I suppose, while the women are out gathering plants.

I'm competitive too, so I went back to the aircraft and got my glasses. My next shot nailed that little pebble and sent it flying. And then we switched to a female time-wasting activity: gathering plants. I showed him how to make daisy chains out of the local wildflowers. Possibly we then threw rocks at the daisy chains. I don't remember.

Back to the first part of this story: the guy with the crumpled paper bag took aim again and predicted, "Locker, map, desk, garbage." We watched as it arced across the room and hit the locker, then the wall map. It angled from the wall to the side of the desk and then flew cleanly into the garbage. We all cheered, arms raised, as if our hockey team had just scored. Too bad garbage disposal snooker isn't an Olympic sport.


Kris Johnson said...

When I was a teenage boy, I wondered why teenage girls were so drawn to the guys who were good at throwing and catching things. I always thought they should be attracted to the smart, quiet, nice guys who knew about computers. I guess the throwing-and-catching skills were more guy-ish.

Aviatrix said...

Sorry Kris, millennia of evolution have programmed females to mate with the males who are good at chucking rocks and spears, and who are most likely to pass those good throwing skills on to their offspring.

Maybe a computer-controlled giant slingshot would net you chicks.