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Opinion

Big men expected to step in, assist

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February 21, 2008

Every so often a college student needs to return to his or her roots. I did this just the other day, by making a trip to the Wendy’s in Hudson.

Now, contrary to what I’ve said about Taco Bell, I think Wendy’s is a delicious oasis of rapidly-delivered fulfillment.

Forget Maslow’s Heirarchy, I can find self-actualization at the corner Wendy’s. Just make sure my fries are hot.

Already I’ve lost track of my original idea.

Anyway, we sit down to enjoy our meal when I notice a nearby family, also enjoying the edible heaven of Wendy’s.

There were two little kids, their mother, and a big burly dude with a rough beard, empty eyes that were looking for a fight and 300 pounds of cheap beer hanging around his waist. He looked like bad news right off the bat.

A few minutes later, I see Mr. Disgruntled lean across the table and make a hitting gesture toward one of the kids.  The kid ducked and the mother laughed. The guy glares at the little guy and says to his son, “Shut the fuck up, you little dipshit.”

And here’s where I look down at my Easy-Mac-fueled forearms and think “Gee, I’d really like to go over and pound the squirmy guts outta that guy … but I can’t. I’d get the living crap beaten out of me!”

I was stuck in a lightning-fast moral dilemma, and I didn’t do anything. The family left quickly, and I walked out later angry at the guy and angry at myself.

It’s a terrible situation when kids are raised around a person like that, somebody who is cheap enough and cowardly enough to tear down a kid.

Now, I’ve come to my actual point. When I look around at other guys on campus, I see a lot of big dudes. Whether they’re powerlifters, football players or big-gutted beeroholics, a lot of the guys I go to school with here are bigger than I am. If I ever get into a fight with one of these people, I’m a pancake!

So I ask, I implore, and I beg all the big guys on campus to use your powers for good, and not evil.

I give kudos to my friend Kevin Callahan, a former UWRF student and a 6’ 4”, 300 pound, powerlifting maniac.

A maniac who is also a brave defender of the defenseless. I know he has stood up when he has needed to, so thank you, Kevin.

The man I saw at Wendy’s does not deserve respect, nor does he demonstrate what it means to be “a man.”

The crucial equality of the sexes does not cancel out the need for big men to step in and do some good from time to time. Whether it’s stopping a too-aggressive parent, helping a little old lady get Wheat Chex off the top shelf, or preventing some act of bullying, big, strong guys can help out in a million different ways.

The fact that I’m a strapping-yet-slender (read: skinny) chap doesn’t excuse me from the responsibility of stepping in when I can.

Unfortunately, I didn’t do that the other day, but I hope that in the future I can find some way to help.

In the meantime, pass over the Easy-Mac. My huge biceps need some more fuel.

Joe Hager is a student at UW-River Falls.