The Hercules of Hackensack

Thomas Jefferson was wrong when he wrote, “All men are created equal.” They aren't. Some can Article-1241060-07C9E3B1000005DC-34_634x382 jump higher. Others can run faster. And, some simply don't feel the cold like mere mortals.

I was struck by the inequality among my fellow man at the New Jersey Transit train station the other day. While huddled inside a makeshift windbreak waiting for 'Old Unreliable', I spied a few fellow commuters strolling along the platform sans topcoats. I was appalled. The temperature was 24 degrees and the wind chill had to be in the teens. Yet, these machismo types padded along the platform as if it were a pleasant Spring day.

Women don't do this. They feel the cold like most men. So, how come there's a certain class of guys who disdain warmth? It has to go beyond mere testosterone. And, it has to be more than mere narcissism. These deep-freeze defying denizens of December MUST have other reasons for encouraging a cold blast of arctic air to shoot up their pant legs. Could it be:

– A missing brain synapse that doesn't registers sensitivity to heat or cold?
– A desperate need to attract attention (“Hey, check me out! Am I the Hercules of Hackensack? The Samson of South Amboy? The Paul Bunyan of New Brunswick? Man, am I rugged, or what?”).
– A weather version of the Dennis Kozlowski/Jeff Skilling/Elliot Spitzer attitude that says: “Hey, normal rules simply don't apply to me.”

Whatever the motivation of the sans topcoat troupe, I think it's an ill-advised, if subliminal, image move. Not only do these guys repel me, I think their Summer in Winter wardrobe merely reinforces society's perception of men as bumbling Neanderthals.

In fact, I'm surprised Hollywood screenwriters and TV commercial producers haven't seized on this obvious folly to once again remind viewers that men are the inferior gender.

6 thoughts on “The Hercules of Hackensack

  1. How are these testosterone-charged males any different than what I witnessed this weekend in Manhattan’s Meatpacking district? Nightclubbing young girls in their 20s, wearing strapless dresses and high heels to get into nightclubs in this godforsaken weather?
    Here’s how I know age is creeping up on me. Instead of my eyes popping out, I was amazed at their stupidity and likelihood of catching pneumonia.

  2. Rep, you’ll recall a certain trip we had to Cleveland last February, where the high temperature hovered around 10 degrees. I didn’t wear a coat — not because of my hearty Midwestern roots (or cause I’m a guy, since I’m not), but because the thought of schlepping one on the plane and through the airport was more painful than the wind off Lake Erie. When I don’t wear a coat, that’s generally the reason.

  3. Thanks Julie. I’ve been aware of the polar bear club for quite some time. Bizarre to be sure. But, if memory serves, they dash in and out of the ocean in a nanosecond. The Hercules of Hackensack type strolls around all day in Summertime attire. My vote for wackiest goes to Herc.

  4. Indeed, Book. Indeed. That said, I still do spy a few women strolling Manhattan’s frigid sidewalks in flip-flops. What up with that?