The Role of Control in Life
You are looking at a picture of our “guest towels”. If you are one of the 7 (maybe less?) males to actually be reading this, you will be just as confused as I once was to learn that despite their name, guest towels, these are not actually towels intended for guests to use. Granted, we do have extra towels for when guests do actually stay at our home- but those are in our “guest bathroom” on the other end of the house. As a guy, who is unable to see any logic in having guest towels in the bathroom attached to our bedroom that are actually only there to look nice and for decoration, not actually for guests to use, I found comfort in watching many male stand up comics who made a routine out of the same topic.
I am becoming more and more aware of how little control I actually have over my own life; much less my own house. Because another common topic that married male stand up comics talk about is the fact that they don’t know where anything in their own house belongs: like the mixing bowl, the stapler, and of course, the real guest towels that are actually intended for guests for use. And now it makes so much more sense why it is so common for the man of the house to spend time in his “man cave”, whether it is his garage, his shop, or even the yard. Why? Because while in his solitude, he has a sense of control over something on the land he owns or rents.
I’m at a point in my life where I am constantly reminded of what little I actually do control right now. With tomorrow reaching the 2 month mark of unemployment, the dignity of providing for my family has been surrendered. And without that, I also feel like I can’t control my time (because I feel guilty if I’m not constantly doing something constructive to find a job). Starting on Christmas Day and ending yesterday (Groundhog Day), after my wife and son went to sleep each night, I would spend an hour or so revisiting my video game past. I took take the time to go through all 3 Super Mario Bros. games on regular Nintendo, Super Mario World for Super NES, and New Super Mario Bros. for WII, and beat them without using any Game Genies or Warp Zones (which again may only interest the 7 or less men reading this). And while there is something seemingly pathetic about a jobless, 29 year-old guy cheering out loud because he beat Super Mario Bros. 3 for the first time in his life; for me, it was a major sense of accomplishment.
I controled those old-school, 8-bit Nintendo games. And in some slightly true sense, I had control over my time as well.
I think it’s easy to overlook the importance of control in life. Why is it that if you drive into certain “bad neighborhoods” that the residents stand in the road or take their sweet time crossing the street, knowing that you need to get by? It’s gives them a sense of control. Why are there rapists in the world? Well, the easy answer is “the depravity of man” or “lust” or “an unfulfilled sex drive”. But to me it’s pretty obvious that their hideous crime is also largely fueled by a lack of control in their own lives. For more times than I can remember, it seems any time I watch a story on NBC Dateline about a rapist, he was emotionally, physically, or sexually abused growing up. Some people will do anything for the sense of control in their own life.
So what can I do right now? What can I actually control in my life at this moment? I can help with the basic needs of my son. I can control whether or not he gets fed, held, played with, and nurtured. And perhaps the best part, I can make him do funny, weird stunts to be featured on YouTube. Because hey, what else am I going to do until I get a real job?