Sunday, February 05, 2006

Saving Face

Look at these amazing creatures! My son sent me this picture and about four others that someone took (probably) in Yellowstone National Park, he said. The other pictures are other views of this ferocious fight.

I wonder if bull elk ever get their antlers so enmeshed that they can't pull loose from each other. If they do, I suppose they die that way, eventually. They probably have to have big fights over lady elk and over positions of power in their herds. It's important to save face, of course.

That sounds like some people I know! Sometimes we get so engrossed in ourselves that we think we have to become unnecessarily . . . assertive, shall we say.

I am reminded of a time when I was sitting in the dugout at a Little League baseball game, carefully keeping score for the coach, to whom I was (and still am) married. I was right between two daddies, who were arguing over something (I don't remember what).

I became gradually aware of the increasing volume of their voices, as they slowly rose from their seats. Jaws jutted out and fists doubled up and angry curses flew. I was scared, and I looked up to see them right over my head, their noses getting closer and closer together.

I had an urge for self-preservation and a desire to spare the little boys from the violence of this spectacle. So I said, as kindly as I could, lest they attack me, "Are we going to have a fight right here in the dugout?"

Just like two old mangy tomcats in a stand-off, the men slowly unwound, turned away from each other, growling, and sat back down. They had saved face.

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