August 8, 2022

A Speech to the Men

Men, this is it.

This is the moment we’ve been waiting for our whole lives.

The moment you’ve been training for, even when you didn’t know it. Even when you thought we were only playing Snake Slithers.

The moment when our measure will be taken, our mettle tested, our gristle flicked, our gristle wrung, and our gristle kissed.

The moment your parents talked about in hushed tones when they thought you were napping, but you were never really much of a napper, were you?

This is the moment I told you about a few months ago, and most of you smiled and nodded, but I could tell that you weren’t taking me seriously, which, though painful and a little embarrassing for me, is perfectly understandable, since true experience is a slow and steady process that works its way from your head down to your gut, and not even I can rush that. But now I can see that your smiles and nods are tinged with real understanding, not just politeness. That’s a good sign.

You’d do well to remember this moment, because photography won’t be allowed.

In my time leading you, I’ve come to know each of you.

You, with your famous hat and that twinkle in your eye, ear, and lower lip.

You, who so bravely bounded up that hill we were all sure was haunted. And now look at you—haunted.

You, the only one who ever had the guts to look me in the eye and jab me in the eye.

You two, who maybe have something you’d like to share with the men, if it’s really that funny? No? Well, I hope it was funny enough to be worth throwing off the rhythm I was getting into.

You, who, now that I’m talking it out, I’m realizing we never really had our “moment,” but that’s always going to be the case with big groups like this.

Those guys, who I think just saw a crowd and drifted over to see what was up. Sorry, guys, this is a closed thing. I’m giving a speech to the men.

I’ve known you as a unit. Together, you are fearless, ageless, deathless, twenty feet tall, a beautiful figure with gorgeous shoulders, a vision in yellow, important, very important, ferociously sensual, capable of stripping a horse down to the bone in a few hours, a Virgo in everything but birthday, and nothing if not Catholic.

You’ve accomplished great feats together, such as the time you stormed the beach and managed to keep the lifeguard pinned for nearly a half hour of constant squirming.

Or that glorious day you all sold your first young-adult thriller to Razorbill, and you blew the whole advance that very same day on a single hot dog each.

Even if I die today for some insane fucking reason I can’t even begin to fathom, I’ll never forget any of these things. They’re as much a part of me now as my horn. Which reminds me, men—please start lining up now to rub my horn for luck.

None of us, not even I, knows what will happen out there. Could be nothing, which would be great; we could go home early.

We could be ripped to shreds, which would be surprising, since I didn’t think this would be that kind of thing, but you take what life throws at you and ask for more.

We could be shrunk, which would be a fun little adventure for us.

It may well be that I got the date wrong, because, though I was pretty positive it was today, I didn’t actually double-check, and now I’m really starting to think my wires got a little crossed on this one. But, for the sake of the speech, let’s keep assuming that I got the day right. One thing at a time.

Now close your eyes, men, and I’ll lead us all in prayer. And no peeking, or the prayer will come true, but with ironic monkey’s-paw consequences.

Oh, God, leader of me, who is, in turn, the leader of the men, please don’t screw us on this one. If you do, it will embarrass me badly in front of the men, and I can’t really afford to poke another notch into that belt, if you know what I mean.

And, God, please bless the men by letting them see some real results from all the hand exercises they do with those nutcracker-looking things, and do not simply curse them with veiny forearms. They’ve really applied themselves, and deserve whatever payoff they’re supposed to get from those.

Finally, God, please show us something cool, like a thick, purple lightning bolt hitting an old, dead tree and making it explode. Amen.

Now get out there, men, and show them what you’re made of. And, if they ask you who you are, you look them square in the eye and tell them to call me, because it’s really possible I did get the date wrong, and that’s more easily sorted out over the phone.

End of speech. ♦

Source link