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It takes a real man to ask the tough ones


July 10, 2019 by admin

IT takes a real man to take another bloke aside and ask them the hardest question for males: ‘‘No, don’t give me that crap, are you really OK?’’

The theme of an upcoming campaign to encourage men to check on mates’ well-being is something some of us have already been doing.

Last year, after the tragic suicide of a man whom others mourning his death had known all their lives, while I met him only a too-short year before, I saw it as my duty to not take ‘‘Yeah, I’m fine’’ for an answer.

Half a dozen times during his wake I ‘‘poked’’ blokes I had also known for only a short time, but already good friends, and said: ‘‘No, are you really all right, and don’t bullshit me?’’

And half a dozen times they unloaded the weight of their anger, sadness and frustration, which was rolled up in a big knot in their guts.

Many were nurses, including intensive care legends, who deal with death every day but fight it, well, to the death.

Yet even they, who watch families fall apart every day when their best efforts to save someone fails, could not deal properly with their mate’s decision without support.

One little bloke, the life of any party, a little wild but a lovely guy, when asked if he was ‘‘really’’ OK, fell into my arms weeping, crying and cursing.

Then there’s a fellow I know, who has made and lost a fortune in something at which he is a genius, seemingly unable to get himself off the booze after his marriage break-up.

Many men, and women in this bloke’s case, tried to confront him – telling him we all loved him, that he is funny and should get back to rebuilding his life.

None of us were doing any good, but the other day a bloke I know told me that despite the recent loss of his mum, he had taken this task on board with a vengeance.

Rules have been put in place regarding all aspects of his life, particularly drinking, with this true mate helping him take tiny steps.

Knowing this man and seeing the voluntary work he does, I had already thought, in the old Aussie vernacular, that he was ‘‘a decent sort of chap’’, who as a first-generation Australian from a strife-ridden part of the world knows a bit about suffering.

Now I want to put this man on

a pedestal. I didn’t kiss him, although I did place a hand on his shoulder to say: ‘‘You are a good man, mate.’’

So if there’s a man in your life, fellas, who you think is a little off kilter, for heaven’s sake, back him into a corner over a quiet ale or squash and don’t take no for an answer.


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