I work with the aging, and some of the most fun I’ve had is simply being with them and listening to stories about their lives, perspectives and a different era. Walking history as I always say. The second man to respond to my request of answering a few questions is connected to me by marriage. Ted Koransky married my sister. When I first met him, the first word I thought of was articulate, the second was tall. What I know professionally is by the time you reach 68, as he has, there are layers of life lived already. I was hoping to tap into those a bit.
What does it mean to be a man? “It means, to me, to be a mensch. Mensch is a Yiddish term from the German that translates as man, but it carries a connotation that encompasses much more. It means that one has an obligation to step up, tell the truth, and take responsibility for one’s thoughts and actions. The term, by the way, is not gender specific.”
What I wish women would understand about men? “I have no frame of reference for this question. I see men and women as equal beings. To me, what is good for one should be good for the other. I guess that I wish that everybody could understand this like I do.”
What would I tell my 19 year old self? “I would tell him to relax and not to be in such a hurry. Things have a way of working out and trying to rush that process or worry about it is a waste of time and resource. I would tell him to savor each minute, because they pass much too quickly.”
What is it like to be an aging man? “The best way I can answer this is by relating to an old joke. An old man sees an eight year old boy sitting on the curb crying his eyes out. “What’s the problem?” the man asks. “I can’t do what the big boys are doing.” the eight year old sobs back. After considering the kid’s answer for a few minutes the old man said, “slide over, sunny.”
As I type this I’m still smiling, layers of life as I said earlier. Reflecting back through the answers and the very reason why I have a few tabs open to dissect this word mensch…a that is not gender specific, but still translates as “man”.