If You’re a Man over Thirty

John W. Pinkerton


If you are a man over thirty, you can assist me in telling this tale by thinking back to the foolish and dangerous things you did in your youth.

The combination of testosterone, an undeveloped mind, and bad company offer up an invitation to disaster.  If you didn't have parents or older siblings who understood that you were a little nuts and tried to buffer you from your own behavior, you had little chance to survive your youth.

If you are a man over thirty, all this means is that you survived yourself.  If you don't shudder at the thoughts of the things you did in your youth, there may be something wrong with you.

There are things I did as a youth that even to this day I won't share with folks.  Not evil things…just stupid, dangerous things.

Testosterone is one of the things that makes youths dangerous.  Somehow testosterone tells you that you're bulletproof.  Of course, you ain't, but testosterone insists that you are.  That's the reason that young fellows march off to war, play sports which possibly can kill them, drive cars fast, drink to excess, and chase women.

I always think of a portion of a book by Robert Blye  entitled Iron John.  The book was a little “new age” for me, but some lines from it have stuck with me.  It speaks of  a young fellow who decides he'll go off into the swamp to do a little exploration.  His elders try to discourage him by telling him of the dangers and warns that no one has ever returned to the village once they've gone into the swamp.  Their warning only seemed to whet his appetite for the trip.   The young fellow along with his dog began their trip into the swamp walking along  a path only elevated inches above the murky green waters.  Deep into the swamp, suddenly a hand reaches up out of the murkiness, snatches the youngster's dog and pulls him under.  The young man responds, “This must be the place.”

That little tale pretty much summarizes the condition in which young men find themselves.  Young men look for danger, excitement,  adventure…the place. 

The undeveloped mind is what makes youths do all of the aforementioned dangerous activities…poorly.

The main cause of dangers to young men is that their brains ain't quite done…another reason they feel that they're immortal.  Their frontal lobes aren't working very well: it's called neuronal myelination.  This process takes about thirty years for men.  If they survive those thirty years, they have a shot to survive into old age.

In my youth I did things which not only seem insane from my current perspective but probably were questionable even from the perspective of a young man.  I won't relate them here…or anywhere for that matter.  They'll remain things which make only me shiver in the night.

Although young men's reflexes are quicker, death rates by accident for youths are also much higher. Deaths in 47% of youths from 15 to 24 are caused by unintentional injuries.  This is the reason parents worry about their kids when they hand them the keys to the car.

Among the states, Texas, where I live, is kind of in the middle of national unintentional deaths statistics.  The other Southern states knock the top out of these stats.  Ya'll be more careful, hear?

Why do young men in groups tend to be more dangerous to themselves and others?  Of  course the answer is peer pressure.  Now there is such a thing as bad company, but usually they ain't the problem.  Running with a bunch of testosterone inspired, undeveloped minds, in other words, your friends, is the problem.

Are there any ways to assist young men through these years.  My first impulse is to shrug and hope for the best.

I've mentioned that the brains of youths are undeveloped.  Heck, I was a classroom teacher for 25 years, and I'll give this fact an “Amen.”  However, the differences in teen brains can also facilitate positive and productive behavior as long as they don't do something terribly foolish first.

Youth is truly a wonderful and foolish time in our lives: how we survive it is beyond me, and although it's a dangerous time in our lives, it's a little sad when it ends.



HOME page>                  NEW STUFF page> 
          WRITING CONTENT page>       GUEST ARTISTS page>Home_1.htmlNew_Stuff.htmlEssays.htmlGuest_Artists.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3