Joseph was giving his grandmother the post demolition derby report from the 183rd Annual Napanee Fair during which he made an observation—unencumbered as he is by any sense of political correctness and without having to tip-toe over anyone’s gender equality egg shells—that was, quite frankly, true: On this occasion, the boys were way better than the girls.
The smash-up derby, which is the first I’ve ever attended, only got really exciting with the second group of drivers who were primarily (although not exclusively) men.
“Keep it going, keep it moving, keep it going,” was the repetitive riff from the woman who calls the derby, who, by the way, should be nominated by the Town of Greater Napanee for some kind of cultural icon award. When she’s not calling the derby, she’d make an awesome birth coach. Of course she didn’t have much coaching to do once the men made their way to the asphalt and the front-loader penned them in with concrete blocks to keep what was about to be a mess of mangled steel fully contained.
All I can say is that the gentlemen really know how to rev their engines. They hadn’t even started hitting each other yet and I could tell they were male drivers: The pure aggression radiated off the pavement like heat waves.
Most of the time, I like to fool myself into thinking that, because we share the common bond of humanity, men and women are really not all that different. Sometimes I even sip Cabernet-Sauvignon and wax philosophic that the Mars and Venus nonsense was just that: Nonsense designed to sell a lot of books with the catchiest marketing hook of all time.
And then, something happens to change my mind: I find myself at a demolition derby, for example, on a hot summer day, sweating buckets under the corrugated tin roof of some ramshackle bleacher, praying it’ll hold all of the puffy cotton-candy-like bodies, including mine, that are packed onto it, watching men smash into each other over and over again and then I know, without a shred of doubt, that men and women are very, very, very different.
“Just give him a little hug, a little kiss.” The total comedic package of the smash-up derby lady only came into full bloom when the men got roaring and raging on the course. She’s probably somebody’s grandmother—at least she sounds like she’s somebody’s grandmother—so the incongruous juxtaposition of a voice that might just as well be offering you a slice of toast with jam against the antics of a bunch of raving lunatics trying to murder each other with cars quickly found funny’s sweet spot.
I have to say, though, that I like the smash-up derby as a metaphor for life: “Keep it going, keep it moving, keep it going.” Whether male, female, or somewhere in between, ain’t it the truth: If you stop moving, you’re done!