Welcome to the user manual for manhood. This manual could be written by most men, and they would probably write it differently than I. In fact, after I’m done, some may hand it to their sons and say “This guy’s a moron, don’t do any of this shit”. They would probably be right.
But this is how I see it. This is how I think one goes about “being a man”. I’d like to think that it’s worked so far, but that I still have a lot to learn, and with luck, a long time to learn it.
Chapter 1: Getting There
You’re not a man yet, yo. You think you are – and you’re getting there – but you’re only 15 years old. You, like all of us, still have a lot to learn. First of all – contrary to what you and every other 15 year old testosterone laden pimple faced pants hangin off their ass, walking with a “tip” in your step boy (that’s right – I said boy) thinks, you are not the center of the universe. So that’s the first step really – finding that balance between “hey, I’m cool, and important” and “hey, I’m kinda a nobody in the grand scheme of things.” Not really sure when this will happen for you – and you may not even realize it happened. Looking back, I think it happened for me when my parents dropped me off at Clemson that very first day. I knew no one, and everyone there spoke a foreign language (“Redneck”) and I had about eight bucks. This was before the internet and before cell phones (yes, I know I’m fucking old. get over it) – so I was basically stranded in a foreign land with a bunch of people that looked like they wanted to play a game of “Kill The Yankee”. So yeah.
It was a feeling of importance. I mean, here I was, 18, and out on my own. The world was mine to rule. I was Pete Perry dammit, and these little southern boys and girls ain’t gonna know what hit them. But it was also a feeling of complete insignificance. I mean, here I was, 18, and completely alone. I was a spineless little bitch looking for my place in the world – and maybe a friend.
Find your balance between that. I think this past fall, you started that process with football. Sure, you’ve been playing for years – but this year it started to all come together for you. You proved yourself a little and tried to stand out – but at the same time you were a small part of a much bigger thing. Find that balance – it will come.
That’s the first step.
After that, or maybe in the meantime, you’ll learn a few of the lessons that I’m going to be talking about in the rest of this series. The first lesson is going to be on a subject that is very quickly approaching us: Driving.
And now, for everyone that stuck with it, here’s a picture of me from that era. It should be really very easy to discern that I have already turned the corner to manhood: