Friday, January 1, 2016

Man of the Year.

So here we are, 2016, and all the clams we can eat. What are your New Year's Resolutions?

Really? Is that right! You don't say! Well, well.

As for me, I've decided to look for a new role model for this year. Someone for whom I have great admiration. Someone we can all look up to and learn from. Someone famous, and yet someone familiar. Someone named Fred. Of course, I refer to:

Fred Flintstone? The cartoon character?

Yes, my imaginary objector, Fred Flintstone. Sure, he may not seem like much of a role model---loudmouthed, temperamental, fat, stuck in the stone age, etc. But I say his virtues far outweigh his defects. Here are my 10 reasons why Fred Flintstone is an excellent example to me and others:

1) He's a family man.

Fred is capable of noticing other women, and has been in the company of some fabulous ones, from the dangerous Madame Yes to the star Ann-Margrock to all the ladies running for Miss Water Buffalo. But he is only interested in his wife, Wilma. She may get jealous from time to time, and he's been known to sneak out for bowling and other manly pursuits, but she knows his love runs deep.

2) He's ambitious.

Call them get-rich-quick schemes if you will, but Fred can't be faulted for thinking small. He's tried crazy inventions, contests, songwriting, short-order cooking, acting, auto racing---he's even been willing to appear on TV in drag to win Wilma's bake-off when she was ill. He tries going to college at night to improve himself and his job. His plans to make his fortune may go awry, but he never gets down for long.

3) He's good in an emergency.

Unlike other cartoon men, especially cartoon fathers, who are completely useless dodos in times of crisis, Fred does the right thing when the rock chips are down. Woman going into labor? Fred drives her to the hospital in a school bus. Alien invasion? Fred chases away the Fred duplicates and saves the day. When everything is going to hell, you want a man like Fred.

4) He's comfortable with himself.

Fred knows he's chubby and has a big mouth and doesn't care a bit, unless someone really puts the screws on him, some killjoy who loves to shame people for fun. When you get right down to it, Fred really likes himself and others, and greets the world with bonhomie, until the world spits in his face. Then he's not afraid to defend himself, either.

5) He has a good conscience.

When Fred does something wrong, Fred cannot live with himself. He tries, as when he takes credit for his pal Barney's heroics, but he can't, and has to make things right. When faced with the villainy of the Green Goose he wants to walk away, but finds that he must confront the danger whatever the consequences, lest his and everyone's children grow up in a world ruled by evil. When he and Barney accidentally join the army, they do not try to lie their way out, but see it through to the end. Ultimately, Fred is a man of his word.

6) He's a real man.

Fred's a strong man, a man who hauls rocks out of a quarry, a man who can work an honest day and bring home an honest day's pay. A man who enjoys manly pastimes, like golf and eating and practical jokes and hanging at the lodge and a good smoke. A man who can drag an entire team of high school boys over the goal line. But he has his all-too-human flaws. Despite his powerful conscience, Fred can lie, chisel, and talk about others behind their backs, but when he knows he's done wrong he makes amends. Fred's been through a lot, including a well-known addiction to gambling that has plagued him in Rock Vegas, caused him to lose his stuff to Arnold the hated paperboy, and even made him neglect his baby in a parking lot. Fred struggles to conquer his addiction, though, and is all the better for it.

7) He's loyal.

Fred will do what he must for those he loves. When he thinks Barney is counterfeiting money, does he let his pal get caught? No, he spends his own money to protect his friend. To make extra money for the baby Wilma is expecting, Fred works nights driving a cab. The people in Fred's life knows that he's true blue.

8) He can adapt to extraordinary circumstances.

Green aliens with superpowers, jewel thieves, amnesia, killers, doppelgangers of tycoons and kings and spies, filling in for Santa Claus, time travel---whatever life throws at Fred, he adjusts as best he can. He may complain, but he never says die.

9) He's talented.

Fred is often getting knocked for his lousy singing voice, and yet he finds success as pop singer Hi-Fye, and again as part of a group singing an advertising jingle. His singing fails to chase away the Swedish musicians staying in his house, so how bad could it be? Hey, he sung on stage with Ann-Margrock! And remember, he also started a national dance craze with the Flintstone Frantic. The guy is a natural!

10) He's cheerful.

Despite the overbearing nature of his boss, his mother-in-law, and virtually every salesman in Bedrock, despite all the adventures he is roped into against his will, despite his hard job and his occasional problems at home, despite any and all adversity, Fred cheerily greets quittin' time and all of life's other little victories with a hearty "Yabba Dabba DOO!"

In addition to all this, he's perfectly used to life in the stone age, which is where we'll all be if the enemies of America and Western civilization get their way.

So come on, everybody! Let's hear it for Fred!


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