A man in modern times consists of every charming woman he’s encountered. I stole a version of that quote from somewhere, but it applies to the story I’m about to tell…
Based on a true story, here is the tale of the Cooper and the Carpenter:
The Cooper was a simple but brilliant man. His labor unfortunately forced him into an unwanted routine of monotony. Everyday he sanded and shaped barrels. Everyday. His barrels were intended to hold wine. Thus, everyday he thought of the wonderful people who would one day sip that wine in some exotic and magical place.
He gave those imaginary people names, conversations, and storylines. The Cooper had a vivid imagination but no way to ever express his creativity. Instead, everyday he continued his routine - alone in his shop with only the comforts of his thoughts.
As his routine progressed, so did his depression. There's something about solitude that forces a man to loathe, regardless of his genius. Leave a man alone long enough, and the mind begins to deconstruct. Such was the case of the Cooper. His mind became malicious and maniacal. No longer did it allow him to escape into his imagination and think of the friends he'd created in far off places.
No, his mind made him realize he was a mere Cooper. Nothing more. His mind forced him to face reality. And the Cooper soon convinced himself his barrels held the wine of drunkards, vagrants and vagabonds, not that of adventurers and aristocrats. He now hated himself for fueling their degeneracy.
The Cooper began to hate that he was a Cooper. Until one day...
He met the Carpenter. She gave him a new design, anew perspective, something new to build, something to create. She gave him a challenge. She gave him something he had never thought to work on before because sadly, he'd spent his whole life a mere Cooper. His father was a Cooper, his grandfather was a Cooper, and so on. But yet, there that day, with the beautiful Carpenter challenging his every notion of self, the Cooper welcomed the design she wanted him to build. It was a blueprint of an item, which she felt was very special.
The Cooper smiled - something he'd almost forgotten how to do. She took his hand and walked him away from his routine. She walked him into the world. She believed the Cooper was more than a mere Cooper. Sadly, without a goodbye, she kissed his cheek and left him alone to create.
In his newfound solitude, he worked on the design she gave him. He researched others like it. He created it, then he destroyed it, then he recreated it. He hated it. Then he finally loved it. He even added his own elements. He made it something even better than the Carpenter could believe. The Cooper had done what he'd always wanted to do: create something new.
The Cooper was no longer a mere Cooper. He'd made a masterpiece. He was undoubtedly happy, a happier version of his self. He became a man about town. He told people what he'd seen in his imagination. Soon people wanted to hear his ideas. They'd seen the new design he had created and no longer thought of him as just a Cooper. No. Now people wanted him to see the world. They wanted to give him money to make them things. For the first time in his life, people listened to the Cooper because he was confident. Fearless. Genuine.
Before he knew it, he was everything he ever wanted to be. He wanted to thank the Carpenter but couldn't find her. She, by now, was already off on another gallivant he assumed. He hoped maybe their paths would cross in some exotic, magical city -- somewhere in the world. Somewhere. Sometime. Some place special. Soon.
He wondered, if he looked all over the world, if he'd ever see the Carpenter again. For as much as she was beautiful, she too was brilliant - more brilliant than the Cooper even.
The Cooper missed the Carpenter, and though their interaction was brief, it was impressive. The Carpenter walked into the Cooper's life and gave him a blueprint that day, that day when the Cooper was loathing in monotony. Without her, he would still just be a Cooper.
The Cooper made one last barrel and left it in his shop for the Carpenter in case she ever returned. Then, he turned off the lights, shut the door and never looked back. He was free. He felt alive. He was eager about the world and all its possibilities.
The Cooper was no longer a Cooper. He was, instead, himself. The blueprint, which the Carpenter gave him, was a new design of him, and that has made all the difference.
As men of Generation-Y, we are presented with an abundance of opportunities to adjust, re-arrange and even re-create the blueprint of ourselves based around our interactions with the women who enter our lives. But as we search to define our masculinity, let’s not forget the women who helped propel us to positions of power.
I’m not saying you should ever change who you are or who you want to be, but better yet, appreciate the people, especially the women, who inspire you to be better. Embrace those women, who motivate you, like I said before, to be the best possible version of yourself. Just as it did for the Cooper, it will also make all the difference for you.
Top Photo Courtesy: Tumblr