The strongest people I've known are women. I've been the beneficiary of brave, insightful people all of my life, but the ones who've lead me with sheer, unstoppable strength were Y chromosome negative. Many know what my mother went through, in sickness and in health. My wife's biggest weakness is that she won't stop being strong. My sister, well, she's my sister, and grew up in the middle of nowhere with two brothers. The majority of my closest coworkers are women, and all of them are relentlessly ascending the rock face of the corporate climb no matter how much boiling dude douche is poured down the mountain. I'm not here to pander. I'm not here to get laid. It's my little tribute to the root of my success. Or we can just go with survival.

I think of my radio boss when I first discovered an activist voice on, of all things, mainstream Top 40 radio. I think of her trying to beat the studio door down when I got a notion I should attack a major sponsor. I think of losing (like I literally lost her) my government boss's boss's boss, a woman overseeing 50,000 people, in the Grand Canyon. She'd escape the confines of the ravine and wait for me patiently in a nearby hotel. She was so kind when, after a night of riding a rented horse up a winding trail, I was finally able to report back to her. Men have helped me as well. Good men. Freakin' tired, overworked men. But I've always been a gal's guy. My grandmothers, my aunts, the bartenders at the bar where I practically grew up. Wanda used to chase me around the dining room trying to plant kisses on me. She was 20 years my senior, but she knew I was bored out of my mind waiting for my dad to fill up.

And for as much help and guidance as women have provided me--Jesus, let's just cut to the point. Men are dicks. Or can be. Yes, they can be dicks but there is far more potential for dudes to go off the rails than women. Or at least when women do they don't perforate a school with bullets. They just settle for a dude...who could likely go off and perforate a school with bullets. I guess women simply self destruct, while men destruct. Ok, it's not a man-hating speech. It's not a tome to the ladies either. It's a series of personal observations that deserved to be as ignored as a billion blogs laid to rest across the infinitude of the Internet. It's me reminding you, simply, that you know people. You know people and it's easier to demonize someone if you don't.

It's easy to scream into your pillow than tell people what's on your mind. And right now we're getting a little lazy on the curiosity front. We're taking the word of entitled frat boys. Entitled frat boys? Jesus H. Christmas how in the hell did that happen. We spend our young lives being groomed to realize the danger of entitled frat boys. Who is the enemy in every goddamn movie you ever saw. Johnny from Karate Kid. Or Troy from Goonies. Entitled frat boys always threaten to tear down the Muppets theater or roll pavers over cartoon friends in every adorable animated animal rebellion. We're taking the word of sly guys over anyone else, and while this might sound like jest, it's from my heart. It's ripping through my soul. So, yeah, first ripping through my heart and then hooking my soul like a nostril snagged on a passing post and pulling it through my fingers to these words.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm hurting. I'm wailing on the inside and now...this. Now we see women. Women coming forth and getting destroyed by the entitled. My mom. My wife. My---I'm going to pause to breathe a little bit. My daughter. Are they supposed to suffer? If for any reason any of it is at my hands then let me pay. Let me be the example to the world. Let me plead for forgiveness and be laid in a dozen parts on the public square. Let it be known that mistakes were made and lessons learned. Let me welcome insight and enlightenment across my entrails strewn about town like post-war confetti. And let me do it now, before anyone ever gets hurt again. And let me share with you a photo from my wife's phone. You see, I was too mad to go do sleep. Riled up by a week in what is called "politics" but has become more "the predictable manipulation of the public to be moved by hate and resentment over truth and patience."

I'm not going to go to sleep tonight I thought. I'm too frustrated, I said. But there's something about that strength.

eliot sleep.jpg


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