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  • I attended two very different events one night last week but both had a similar effect on my heart. I began by participating in a collage workshop. I was by far the oldest person there, but I doubt anyone had more fun. My ears filled with the sounds of pages being ripped from magazines and the snipping of scissors, my eyes searching for glue pens among the growing pile of discarded images, I easily entered the Zone. Joking with my fellow collage-makers, my cares and worries melted away without my even realizing it. I suppose my joy was evident because a couple of journalism students interviewed me afterward for a university newspaper story.

    Later that evening I drove to my second appointment. For five years or so I’ve been meeting monthly with a group of wise, kind and compassionate men. We talk about what’s working in our lives and what’s not, how to live in integrity with our best selves and what it means to be male in the early 20th century. We pointedly do not sit around and complain about women or try to channel the little hairy man residing inside us. We focus instead on being better mates, fathers, sons, brothers and friends. On some nights, as the saying goes, hilarity ensues; other times, there is heartbreak. This night fell into the latter category, two men in deep despair and pain. For the next 2-1/2 hours we wrestled with demons together, sat silently and made feeble quips through our tears. By the end of the meeting we were physically and emotionally drained. Our friends’ problems were not neatly solved TV sitcom-style, but they had been helped and we went our separate ways into the night sharing a genuine sense of connection.

    I treasure the people I’ve befriended online. They’ve broadened my outlook, made me laugh, made me wiser and caused me to add a number of them to the circle of those I love. But sometimes there’s just no substitute for face-to-face interaction, when the movement of an eyebrow or the touch of a hand can convey volumes.

    We have GOT to organize a Cowbird convention.

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