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The makings of a real man (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
I'm a man. A man's man. The kind of man who wouldn't think twice about knocking your teeth out if you spoke ill of my woman or my mother. The kind of man who when he walks down the street, men and women alike all sneak glances out of the corner of their eyes at this confident, impressive member of the male gender. The kind of man who if he felt compelled to would take an ax and climb into the mountains and build a cabin all by himself one weekend, just because he can. Yeah, that's a real man.

I always hear women bitch about having stereotypes that pressure them into conforming to what society views as the proper woman. Well, listen, the same pressures apply to men. Well, not quite the same, I don't worry about having to squeeze into tight jeans or making sure my breasts look pert (thanks ladies, by the way). But men face a lot of pressure to be strong, both of body and mind. Weakness like emotion is only shown by the bottom feeders and homosexuals of our gender, we're taught.

No crying! You scrape your knee you stand up, growl and shout "What the fuck!"

It's a funeral or a wedding, you stand stone faced and strong. Your dog gets run over? You man up and take it around back and end it quickly and curtly. Like a man would. The tough jobs in life come with being a man. Really the only time it's socially acceptable to cry is when your local sports team loses the championship game or you get kicked in the nuts.

Most men can't recall the last time they cried. I can though. 4 years and 6 months ago my Grandfather died. I cried a lot that week. I learned a lot about being a man from my grandfather. Funny thing was we weren't even related, he was my step fathers dad.

When I was four or five years old and my Mother began seeing my step Father and I was brought over to my step father's house. The MacDonald's are your typical Scottish family. They're loud and they eat and drink to excess, usually Whiskey. Unfortunately we didn't meet under good terms. At five years old I was a shit head. Constantly in trouble at school for fighting and swearing. I was the biggest kid in class and easily the loudest. You'd think I would have fit right in.

That evening I recall "this woman" who today is my grandmother and as close to me as anyone, come and call me from my place in front of the TV where I was planted for dinner. I made some sort of defiant comment about being able to eat dinner in the living room at my house. To which this very strong Scottish woman told me something along the lines of "Well this isn't your bloody house, and here we all eat together at the dinner table. Now get a move on".

I didn't like authority. And wasn't used to strong willed adults. So I did what came naturally to me at five, I called her an asshole.

The shit hit the fan. My mom smacked me hard when she got wind, and thank God my step dad was there to hold back his mother or I would have gotten far worse. I remember my mother threatening me with a mouthful of soap. And my future grandmother replying with, "Soap? If the wee bugger talks to me like that again he's getting a swift, hard kick up the shirt!"

I'd known these people less than an hour and I was already the black sheep.

I was getting stares from twenty MacDonald's and I knew even at a young age that the tone with which they spoke my name was not a pleasant one. My grandmother pulled out a chair and pointed at it.

"This is your seat. Use it."

I frowned and rubbed my sore bum, looking up at the circle of disapproving eyes that sat around the table. Except for one set. At the head of the table sat my grandfather.

"If the boy wants to eat in the living room, he can eat in the living room. In fact, I think I'll join him."

My grandfather stood up with his full plate, took his glass of whiskey, walked down the hall and disappeared into the TV room.

This did not go over well with my grandmother. If looks could kill, I tell you man, I wouldn't be sitting here typing this out right now. I quickly gathered up some meat onto a plate and made my way after my grandfather.

"You didn't take any veggies!" my grandmother called after me.

"...I don't like veggies!" I hollered back quickly and kept moving, not making eye contact.

I slipped into the matching recliner next to my grandfather and started picking at my food. I hated family dinners, the food sucked. I wanted pizza.. The large man with the hands and mashed nose of a former boxer chewed his spuds wordlessly. I nibbled at my ham.

Finally he looked over at me and said, "There won't be any more language like that in my house. Understood?"

I nodded my head emphatically.

We sat there together through the rest of our dinner and watched his Montreal Canadiens probably playing the Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada. He always was a Habs fan. "That Guy Carbonneau is one hell of a hockey player" he always told me. "Kirk Muller too".

When my grandfather finished his dinner he left me to my cartoons and made his way back to the kitchen. Not quite sure if I should make an appearance or just camp out in the TV room the rest of the night, I quietly collected my plate and silver wear and tip toed back to the kitchen door. As I reached the it I heard my name mentioned with that tone again. You can bet the family wasn't telling my Mother what an exceptional son she had raised. Someone was saying something about me in that "Well I never!" sort of voice. Saying that such a disrespecting boy will grow up to be a disrespecting man, when I heard my grandfathers thick and curt voice cut in, "That's enough! Leave the boy alone! He'll be just fine."

No one objected. My grandfather was the law. Not just on the street when he carried his badge and gun, but at his home, at the rink where he coached community league hockey and at any number of pawnshops, jewelers and restaurants where his many, many friends knew him as Detective MacDonald. He had always liked people that had walked to the beat of their own drum. And that's a nice way of saying I was a different kind of kid. He had made sure everyone knew I was now a member of this family.


Over the years my grandfather and I spent a lot of time in that TV room watching hockey and football. He gave me a new respect for soccer, he had played it and played it well for years. But he played every sport well. I think of Saturday morning soccer with him a lot when I coach my brothers 14 and under team. We should win the top tier division this year.

He taught me strength isn't size and confidence isn't cockiness. He taught me that if someone hits me I should hit them back twice as hard, and that when I hit them, just do it. "Don't let them see it coming".

He taught me to stand up for those smaller than me and not to go looking for fights. He taught me that telling a racist joke doesn't make me a bad person. He taught me tolerance of others. More than anything he taught me the art of quick wit. He always had a retort.

My grandfather and I had a very formal relationship. He shook hands, we didn't hug. Real men don't kiss or hug other men. But I knew he loved me back. It just didn't have to be said.

He used to often pass me in the hallway at family dinners and say, "Hey spud, come here" and pull a loonie from behind my ear. I used to save those ear loonies and buy McNuggets for the two of us to share when I came by. He loved McNuggets.

If I can live to be half the man he is, I'll be alright. He had more of an influence on my life than anyone. I cried the last night I saw him, dying in his hospital bed of cancer, unconscious. I shook took his hand and said, "Hey Grandpa." I cried that night when the phone rang at 2:55 am and I knew what the call was about. I cried at his funeral when the bagpiper ended it with "Amazing Grace" and 500+ people poured out of a 250 person church to a parking lot overflowing with Police Cars. The Chief of Police telling us what a good man "Radar" had been.

And I cried that afternoon when we went to visit the burial plot where his ashes were placed. I walked from the car to the plot with my head hung and my hands buried into the pockets of my dress pants. And I found something. A few meters from his resting place, lying on the ground in front of me, was a loonie. I broke down and cried right there, like a fucking sixteen year old baby.

The TV room at family get togethers is not the same. The head of the table is now my step father's seat, the oldest son. When I was twelve I decided I wanted to be legally adopted and to take the name MacDonald. I'm so proud to have it, and know where it came from.

Every now and then, like with any person you lose, you'll have one of those moments where a memory comes flooding back and you'll have to pull over to the side of the road, or sit and look out a window, or sit and write.

That afternoon when we buried my grandfather was the last time I've cried until today.

He always told me to spend those loonies and not save them.

"You can't take anything with you when it's all said and done."

I love you Grandpa.

John "Radar" MacDonald.



Senior Member
that's the most beautiful piece of writing i've ever seen on a forum, donovan!... and i'm typing this through a veil of tears shed along with yours... more of happiness for you, than sorrow, however...

you're a good writer and, thanks to your grandpa and company, seem to be just as good a person... you've done him proud, for sure!

love and hugs, maia

ps: have you thought of submitting this to regional or law enforcement-aimed magazines?... i'm betting it will get snapped up before you can blink... m


Senior Member
Thank you. I just wrote it yesterday, so I havent really thought of posting it anywhere but here and a couple other writing forums I'm a member of.

But do you think it actually has potential enough to be published?

And basically, my grandfather is the reason I am striving towards a career in law enforcement.


Senior Member
gohn67 said:
Just stopping by to say, good story. I like your writing style. You write good.

Aww come on; this from a mentor?!?! :lol:

At any rate, good work. My grandfather died a few years ago as well; cancer did the trick within a couple months. He was the best man I've ever known, the foundation on which the rest of our family was built. Though he wasn't in law enforcement, like your grandfather he was a pillar of his community. He always had a handshake or a hug for people, along with a great smile. His laugh was infectious, his dissaproval hard to cope with. At his funeral, the church filled with those who knew him and loved him, and all of our lives are a bit emptier with his abscence.

If anything, i would go though the piece and make sure all the punctuation is where it should be before submitting it.


Senior Member
Aww come on; this from a mentor?!?!
What can I say, I'm feeling lazy write now. And generally don't say much when I like a peace.

I agree thoroughly check through the piece first.


Senior Member
not to mention 'peace' for 'piece'!... such an example, qohn :roll: ... better shape up, or you'll lose your mentor status :pale: ...


But do you think it actually has potential enough to be published?

absolutely!... practically as-is... it's that good... and, as any here can tell you, i don't hand out compliments that easily... next to never, compared to many!...

hugs, maia
Hi DonovanMD

Emotion is a powerful inspiration; the love for your grandfather has certainly inspired you to write a great piece. The character of your grandfather surely will demand you continue writing of your experiences together.

Allan millard
GMT+5 hours

Scott Tuplin

Senior Member
donovan, great piece. i lost my grandfather too and i know exactly how you feel, though i can't honestly say that my grandfather was as special as yours. he sounds so genuine and exceptional.

how would you feel about this being scripted? it would go no further than this forum, i can assure you, and i'll completely understand if you want to keep this piece original to your grandfathers memory. anyway, get back to me on that and well done.


DonovanMD said:
Thank you. I just wrote it yesterday, so I havent really thought of posting it anywhere but here and a couple other writing forums I'm a member of.

But do you think it actually has potential enough to be published?

And basically, my grandfather is the reason I am striving towards a career in law enforcement.

I would certainly hope you include writing as at least part of your career. This essay hooked me in from the opening paragraph to the very end! I'm not a "man's man" because...well, I'm a woman. I'm a tough, fiery Aries who doesn't cry much at all, even when she's "supposed to", like at the movies. But this piece touched my soul and warmed it profusely. What a loving tribute to very special person! He's proud of you, I honestly believe that. I have only one comment to make--you may want to briefly explain what a loonie is. I know what it is because I spent a week in Calgary in search of Bret "The Hitman" Hart (long story, maybe I'll write about it someday.) Us yanks can be pretty dim about other countries, unfortunately.

Other than that nitpicking point, I think you should pursue publication. Donovan, I don't say that very much, and I read and critique thousands of essays each year in my line of work. How old are you? 20? 21? You must have been a writer in a previous lifetime. This is the work of a mature writer. I really hope you find the appropriate market for this article. More people should read it.

Angela Shortt


Senior Member
Thank you Angela. Yeah, I'm 20. I plan on being a police officer myself. I work a security gig that should lead into it. I find I do well with smaller pieces like this, essay style articles. But I dont know if I would ever have what it takes to get published or write a book. I would love to write for a living, but without the education behind it, a career with a newspaper/magazine probably wont happen.

Where should I submit this for publication, any ideas?


Senior Member
DonovanMD said:
Thank you. I just wrote it yesterday, so I havent really thought of posting it anywhere but here and a couple other writing forums I'm a member of.

But do you think it actually has potential enough to be published?

And basically, my grandfather is the reason I am striving towards a career in law enforcement.

I hope your biggest reason for becoming a police officer is to help people. We need more of those types.


Senior Member
Scott Tuplin said:
DonovanMD said:
Scott: How do you mean when you say scripted?

i mean adapted into a movie script, just for the feel of it. i could do this for you if you wanted.

Sure. If you'd like to take a stab at this, by all means go ahead. Just message me if you'd like to know anything.