Documenting the Manification of Jody Fuller

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Last week, I drank my water from a straw. We all slip up from time to time, so let me explain.

“Wild at Heart” was released in 2001, but I just recently got around to reading it. It’s an awesome book and very enlightening, in a manly kind of way, of course. 

The book has motivated me to do different things, so I’m calling this stage of my life “The Manification of Jody Fuller.”

Make no mistake about it; I’m a man—a real man. I have a big dog, a beer fridge and an electric drill. I like my steaks rare, go to a barber shop, and can sling a football with the best of them. Shoot, I’ve even been to war three times. Still, “Wild at Heart” showed me where I was lacking. 

Before reading the book, I’d already decided to start hunting and fishing. I’ve caught hundreds of fish in my life, but a couple of weeks ago, I went crappie fishing for the first time. You say “croppie.” I say “crappy.” Why? Because it rhymes with “happy.” 

Years ago, I bought a beer can chicken holder but had never used it. If you’ve never eaten a drunk chicken, then you are missing out. Basically, a can of beer is inserted into the cavity of a whole chicken and set up on the grill. It’s simply delicious.

It’s actually the first time I’d ever bought a whole chicken, I inadvertently discovered what giblets are, and, quite frankly, I’m not sure I wanted to know. 

The other day, I picked up some wood for my fire pit. Once I got home, I realized that no grown, able-bodied man should ever buy wood from a grocery store, so I went to mama’s place out in the country and cut my own. I’d never once used a chainsaw, but my stepfather showed me how. A hickory had fallen in the pasture, and in no time, I had a truck full of wood. I even used some of it to cook my drunken chicken.

Finally, I felt like a man—a real man. Later that night, my forearm muscles were hurting. A friend referred to them as my “cow-milking muscles.” I reckon I’d never used those muscles before. My arms were almost useless. 

The next day, while eating lunch, I had trouble holding onto my glass of water. Ultimately, I had no choice but to use the straw. It’s hard to be a real man and use a straw at the same time. I grimaced each time I drank from the straw. I was humbled. 

Of course, being a real man is way more than simply doing “manly” things. It’s being, knowing and doing certain things within the home, at work and on the frontier. Somehow many, if not most, modern men have gotten away from their wild and adventurous side. Wild at Heart captures the passion that most of us lack, and my “manification” continues one day at a time.

By the way, does anyone have a cow that needs milking?

Jody Fuller is from Opelika, Ala. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com.

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