Temporary Sanity

Loretta (Cher) sits down with her father (Vincent Gardenia) in the 1987 movie Moonstruck and announces she just became engaged. Her father is less than enthused and asks, “Where’s the ring?” She holds forth her hand, and on it is her fiancé’s pinky ring, which he gave her instead because he forgot to purchase an engagement ring. “That’s it? It looks stupid! It’s a man’s ring!” he shouts.

“It’s temporary!” she shouts back.

“Everything is temporary,” he roars back. “That doesn’t excuse anything!”

Everything is temporary.

I mulled those words over many times since I first heard them in that movie. First, I began to challenge the idea. Certainly there are some things that are permanent. I thought of rocks, bridges and skyscrapers, how stable and strong they are–and then I thought of the hurricanes, earthquakes and tidal waves that turn them into rubble in a matter of seconds.

I thought about love ever-lasting, like the elderly couples you see walking and holding hands in the mall, but, of course, that too expires with their passing.

I considered how we work to upgrade our station in life with promotions, better houses and nicer cars–all temporary. Championship teams are-fleeting. There is all the hoopla after the big game, but by the time next season arrives, they have to prove it all over again.

The Stronger Of The Sexes

If everything is considered temporary–that leaves me feeling a bit empty. What’s worth investing time in, if the result is a moving target for the sharpshooter of inevitable “temporariness?” I want to establish something permanent. It’s just the guy in me, you know? Men and women compete to put their initials in the “wet concrete slab” of life. Women have the ability to bring life from their bodies. Although man’s contribution to this process is critical, it is seemingly effortless as opposed to the woman’s. It is she who carries and nurtures an entire human being within her to later reveal a real person who joins the human race. Although the actual production is temporary, her results are the closest thing to permanent we may find on earth. A mother is a giver of life. Men have no such equal power or opportunity, so they try to find other ways to be revered and place their signature on the edifice of time through buildings, books, awards, historical accomplishments–but it is not available. Not like that. There is a price for women’s dominance in this area and ability to create permanence, however. Having a baby hurts!

This leads to the first inevitable truth. Since the eventual pain of birthing a child is imminent from the moment a woman learns she is pregnant, she handles this news with grace and style, knowing that at the end of this road she will be doing something equivalent to sucking a watermelon through a garden hose, and for nine months she never freaks out and/or loses it. A good case can be made for positioning the female side of the mankind equation as the stronger of the two. This statement does not appear “temporary.” While there are some men who would endure this with equal bravado, I am afraid the majority of my knuckle-dragging brethren would be looking into pain meds and other sub-contracting management options long before the first contraction.

Comparing Notes

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