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His Fatal Flaws

June 26, 2007

He is like many characters in American literature — he is fatally flawed. But he won’t die in a fight due to his need for vengeance like Captain Ahab did. He’ll die a quiet, lingering death in little bits as his life ekes slowly and painfully away. And one day he’ll come to the realization that he didn’t live the life he was supposed to have because he wasn’t the man he was supposed to be.

You see, he’s lazy, cowardly and apathetic. What’s worse, I think he knows it. But instead of doing something about it he anesthetizes himself. He’ll shoot up a bit of sex, or alcohol, or video games or music. Or some other proxy for real manhood so that he doesn’t think about the fact that he is emasculating himself through inaction. That way he doesn’t have to think about his fatal flaws.

He does have other flaws too, but they aren’t fatal. Plus his other flaws don’t hurt me when I see them, because they aren’t the things that he has chosen to be. And you see, he has chosen to be lazy, cowardly and apathetic — because he hasn’t chosen to be ambitious, brave and passionate.

Furthermore, what is most possibly the worst aspect of his flaws is the fact that he has the capability of being one of the most ambitious, brave and passionate men I have ever met.

If his flaws were beyond his control I wouldn’t care. I would just write him off as a loser. But he’s not a loser. He has potential.

Potential, that rough and dirty word that makes so many of us feel we’ve failed. His potential makes him appear to me as a bleeding man whose possibilities seep from his numerous, festering, self-inflicted wounds.

He has all that it takes to be a great man. But he isn’t a great man and it is simply because he has chosen to be ordinary.

Every time he doesn’t work as hard as he can to achieve what he’s capable of he is choosing to be that lazy man. Or when he decides it is easier to bow to sin or addiction than to discipline himself and rise above his current state he chooses to be that lazy man.

And lazy men are ordinary.

Every time he doesn’t pursue the things he desires (like love, success or respect) because of fear he decides to be that coward.

And ordinary men are cowards.

Every time he decides it will be easier not to care he chooses to be apathetic. He ignores the parts of his heart and soul that are capable of making him who God created him to be — a great and passionate man.

Instead he is apathetic, and apathy is ordinary.

Sadly, that’s why he will be like the majority of men who lead “lives of quiet desperation.” And when he can’t get his faux-manhood fix of porn or drugs or power he’ll feel that desperation and he’ll feel himself dying that little bit at a time.

This man with the capability for greatness is slowly killing himself and replacing that great man with and ordinary man. That is how his flaws are fatal.

Who is this man with these fatal flaws?

Specifically, “he” is a boy that I used to date. In fact, he is most of the boys I used to date. But in general, “he” is every young man. I feel that these fatal flaws are a generational symptom of masculinity, and it is very rare that I find a man who hasn’t chosen to be lazy, cowardly and apathetic.

But I’m still hoping I’ll run into a guy who has chosen to be ambitious, brave and passionate. And I hope when I do run into him that he will also chose me.

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