The Male Ego Studies Itself: It’s the Grim Reaper..

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I met a guy standing in line for grub at the Blanchet House, called himself the grim reaper. He was very thin, dressed in black from head to toe with the obligatory dark shades.

Now ladies you may not know this but handshakes for men are an art form and create anxiety, in some instances. My dad taught me to look the other person in the eye and give a firm grip which usually meant getting my hand crushed by farmers and ranchers in the area.

When I was away at college I read that Native Americans would use a very soft grip. So when I got back to Idaho, I would saunter up to some fella, look him square in the eye and produce the soft grip. I used the look on the other guys face to amuse myself; I am a clown you see, and have attached a video to prove it.

My technique now is to simply meet the guy with whatever grip pressure he gives me. I am a big guy, 6’4 260lbs,(Yes I have some extra meat on my bones) so a lot of other men try and short grip me or out grip me to prove what, I am not exactly sure.

I reach out to shake hands with the reaper and he grabs my fingers so as I can’t grip and squeezes basically as hard as he could.

I say let’s do that again but let me get my hand in there this time. Well he short grips me again, but I have enough leverage to squeeze back a little and keep the pressure steady.

I take a look at his face and he is bearing down pretty hard, and he finally gives out. He looks at me and says, “I’m sorry; us short, thin guys have to go for any advantage we can get.” I assured him I was very kind and that he didn’t have to worry about being out manned.

I asked him how things were, him being the prince of death and all. He said, “It’s the Angel of Death actually.” He is a shy, skinny kid from Sacramento who probably feel pretty vulnerable on the streets. Wish you could see his bearing down look though, made me chuckle.


My arrogant, better than you attitude is slowly drifting away. It was hot yesterday in Portland. I was walking in the Pearl district, when I see this guy, probably in his fifties strolling up the street. He looks like he has some money, but he is without a shirt, exposing his perfectly tan, perfectly gym sculpted body. His pants were painted on and his thinning hair was obviously recently dyed a mysterious shade of red.


I had to stifle my guhuff at the male ego in play. The old me would have mocked this guy without mercy or shame, but by the time he got to me, my cruelty had passed me and I felt a strange affection for the guy, because believe it or too I am not without vanity. I said, “looking good buddy.” He smiled in a way that let me know I didn’t say anything he wasn’t already thinking about himself.



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