My son Cal and I recently made a couple of pizzas, which turned into a pizza-style bakeoff. His pie was super thin, crispy, minimalist, baked very quickly in a 550 degree oven. My recipe was a big, fluffy, gooey mess that takes 30-45 minutes to cook.
I was cocksure about my style versus his.
The results? His pizza was delightfully crunchy and tastier than my fat doughy pie. In the end I felt silly, and I was. Not about how I cooked my pizza but about my attitude.
My generation of men often have trouble ceding control and power, over even the smallest things — even baking a pizza. And we only sometimes grudgingly accept ideas from others that are better than ours.
The world is changing on us, as it must.
A friend said, “You had a good run, now you are done.” Ouch.
We have had it all, yet we sometimes do not want to give an inch. That has created trouble for the world.
It explains much of the tension around race, women’s rights and economic equality.
People want and deserve more power, influence and their fair share of the largess.
And right now, a little is not enough. Equality requires more than a little.
Men like me can default too often to the argument that we earned what we have, and that no one is entitled. That argument is empty when you consider my ride up the hill got a power surge, like riding an electric bike. I pedaled hard, but I also got a boost from my education, my built-in peer groups and the institutions that were created for me. And no one ever dismissed me because of where I came from, for the color of my skin or for who I was.
I mastered at a young age the manners, the protocol and the rules of success — tenets that gave me an advantage. While my roots are middle class, it still adds up to privilege in the larger scheme of things.
Should I be ashamed of that? No. Should I acknowledge it? Yes, if I plan to be part of the new world that I optimistically see coming.
There comes a time when you must move to the side of the road and let others pass. I am not sure when that moment is for me, but I do know this new game of musical chairs won’t make the world threatening. And it does not mean we will necessarily lose what we have.
And importantly, the weight of it all will soon be carried with many others.
We as humans face big challenges in the coming days. We need the might of everyone to forge ahead.
Footnote: My daughter Liz read this and said: “I have a hard time asking or accepting help. Guess that crosses gender lines in the Inman house. Oh and just wait – you have not tasted MY pizza.”