First Posted 28-Dec-2015
The title pretty much says it. The next 700 words or so are really just a long winded way to say the three word title of this post. This month I posted a piece saying that Eve had her reasons. Then I had Adam in my head scolding me that I didn’t understand, that it wasn’t his fault, and that if God had just left him alone he’d have been fine. Adam wasn’t fine. Men, man, has not been fine for a long time. I can only imagine the sort of transgressive behavior Adam was perpetrating to cause God to decide that it wasn’t good for him to be alone in Eden. A trail of chewed animal bones, exploded stills, poorly buried dung, and scorched earth come to mind. I have a two word movie title to give you if you are still not clear, “Animal House“.
We all witness it. A young man, freshly emancipated from Mom & Dad, loose on the world, feeling his virility and strength, meets a woman. All that bluster & bravado, that willingness to do crazy shit just cuz, starts to diminish. He starts skipping 501st Legion meetings in his area. The guys call to ask him to come with them to the strip club and he declines, saying she wants to go to the ballet. They catch up to him at a college game and instead of tail-gating with them, he’s a couple parking stalls over with her and her sorority sisters. There are numerous selfies and wine spritzers. They try to rescue him and he demurs, saying she asked him to meet her sisters.
We know when it happens. Some time after the first date and before the engagement an archetypical conversation happens that can be reduced down to one question, “what are we?” The answer to that question sets the course for the relationship. It will either continue to flower into a ring and a date or die bitterly in all the spectacular ways that love burns cold.
Fast forward a decade and his old college buddies find him wiping baby puke off his shoulder and testing a bottle to see if it is the right temperature. The legendary Boba Fett costume is splayed on the floor, dusty and forlorn. His oldest is bickering with his middle over whether Darth Vader or Darth Maul was more badass. Shrek covered this in his last movie. Marriage & parenthood changes us. Something dies to be replaced with all the crap that comes with kids and wife. The old buddy who would trampoline over the house after a couple beers now finds excitement in old Oprah reruns.
As a young lion I was going to be a Broadway star, foment a global socialist revolution so that there were no longer starving children in Africa, learn how to make moonshine from Popcorn Sutton, make fire from flint, walk the Appalachian Trail (all of it), and bring about world peas. How did I do? I walked some of the Appalachian Trail. That’s about it.
The thing that happened to me has a name: 常明華 (Ming-Hua Chang). She was born in the year of the dragon. My nickname for her is 皇后 “The Empress”. With all the bipolar and other mental illness in my generation some of my siblings labeled her as a sufferer of cyclothymic disorder. She was born to a prominent, Nationalist Chinese family that escaped to Taiwan and became nightclub owners in 北投區. My friends and I allege, without proof, that she is a princess of the 台灣民族主義黑手黨 Taiwanese Triad. She changed me. It was good.
Eve changed Adam. It is as God intended. Adam, single, was a big and not necessarily benign impact on Eden. He needed something he desired enough to be down with love, loving God, loving Eve, loving enemies & neighbors. He needed something to get him through yet another ten minutes fighting his way through stray Barbie dolls, doll houses and his wife’s lipstick used to draw Barnie on the kitchen walls. Aspects of Adam had to die so that he could become fully realized as the image of God he was created to be.
Eden before Eve was a wrecked playpen. If Adam hungered deeply for Eve maybe he’d come to his senses, maybe he’d grow up some. Teen, single, independent, feeling indestructible and immortal, able to conquer ten dragons before a breakfast of moonshine and Tex-Mex tacos, we fear what we believe will be a kind of death once we meet her. It is a kind of death. On the other side of it is a changed life better than our footloose days. It’s hard to see that, though, on a Sunday morning after getting released from the drunk tank. Right then our plan is a couple breakfast tacos washed down with a redneck bloody Mary and finished with a smoke. Then we get a text message from her with a lot of annoying questions.
She, some of them, is no less fearless nor less harmful to dragons. Then she asks and we answer and the torrential flame of our early glory fades into slow glowing coals baking soda bread in a Dutch oven. We become responsible. We [shocker] get a job and start paying our bills on time. Some of us have to go to meetings for a bit and learn how to contain our impulses. If you are confused, the movie, “What to Expect When You Are Expecting” will explain a lot of this.
Something in us does die once we say to her that we are a couple. In its place grows something new, and IMHO, better. Adam became a father and a farmer. We don’t know what the young Adam was like before Eve showed up. I sort of reckon he weren’t exactly a model son. Men & women need each other. We, together, are more than the sum of our parts. 900 words later, that makes women awesome.