Self-Absorbed [Insert Explicative]

Being a man doesn’t mean machismo. It means understanding and owning up to your responsibilities and treating others with respect and care. “Captain Zero” clearly doesn’t get this as you will read below.

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by Pete Ferguson

Saturday morning I was enjoying a leisurely breakfast with Abbie, age 9 at a quaint little cafe in Salt Lake. She had been pretty quiet all morning, but after her first hot chocolate she began to perk up and we were having a good time laughing and talking.

I noticed a man in his 20’s walk in. It was the blue t-shirt that matched his Hurley hat and how he walked to ensure everyone could see his biceps bulging and his refusal to hold his arms at anything but a 45 degree angle that gave him away as a bit of a dweeb. I could tell he had spent considerable time grooming to portray the image he wanted everyone to see when he entered.

Good for him, I thought, to be young and shallow minded again without many cares in the world.

He sat at a large table by himself and I quickly forgot he was there as I was paying attention to Abbie.

About fifteen minutes later in front of the restaurant a young mom was running and laughing with her little boy, they were racing to the corner of the street and both looked to be at a 10 in happiness and having a great time. They came rushing into the cafe and walked towards the back.

She was energetic, beaming with joy and at peace and in love with her little man.

The moment was one for Hallmark until she circled around the table, sat down and reached over to try and give Mr. Hurley a hug and a kiss and he pushed her away.

As father with three daughters, this is the part where I want to get violent with Mr. Hurley who I now rebrand Captain Zero.

The young mother’s body language immediately changed. Her face and shoulders drooped. She slide to the opposite side of her chair. She tried to play brave to her son and talk to him as Captain Zero needed to sit there with both arms in the 45 degree flex mode so he could contemplate his image.

A few moment’s later, a smiling dad with a tiny baby girl in his arm entered the cafe. He knew Captain Zero and sat down at the table as well and a moment later they were all joined by another young mother with a similarly-aged boy as the first.

The two males talked much, but ignored the ladies – leaving them to introduce themselves and their sons to each other. The tension was palatable across the restaurant.

CaptainZeroEventually Captain Zero decided it was okay for the first female to be acknowledged and grabbed her chair and pulled her away from her son and to him and invited her to rub his sore shoulders. From time to time he would grab her and pull him to her, expecting her to be thrilled with the attention and then just as quickly, he’d ignore her and talk to his friend and she would try to make her way back to her son before being summoned again.

It takes two to tango. I had to wonder what has happened in her life to allow this to be acceptable – unfortunately perhaps “normal” – behavior to put up with. Where is her father? How did he treat her growing up? What would he think of Captain Zero’s behavior?

One of my greatest fears is that one of my daughters will fall into this trap. I spend a lot of time talking to them about what is acceptable behavior and try to show them as much love as I can in hopes that they will set their “normal” bar pretty high and run from the Captain Zero’s in this world.


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