Remember, remember, the Mo’s of November…
Remember, remember, the Mo’s of November
The Men’s Health season and plot:
I know of no reason, why Men’s Health Season
Should ever. Be. Forgot.
There’s beer in here somewhere, folks, you just have to read a bit to get to it…
A little under 15 years ago, two mates from Melbourne, Australia, thought it would be fun to grow mustaches. At that time and in that land, Men’s Fashion had forgotten the Mo’, and there just weren’t that many around. Wouldn’t it be something, they thought, if we could bring the damned thing back? To give their mustaches a look of legitimacy they decided to style them in the form of a campaign, with the proceeds going to prostate cancer and the catch phrase being, “Are you man enough to be my man?” Thirty brave souls bared their bare faces to the challenge and in that instant, a foundation was formed. Today the Movember movement is a world wide phenomenon for good with just under five and a half million members, whose efforts have funded over 1200 men’s health projects since 2003. The Movember Foundation is ranked 49 out of the top 500 non-governmental organizations around the world.
The Movember Foundation’s primary focus is to “Stop Men Dying Too Young” and the three poisons they’re trying to remove from the well are testicular cancer, prostate cancer and mental health issues. The cancers are of grave concern, of course, and are on everyone’s mind, as we’ve all had someone suffer under the merciless boot of the big C. But mental health issues are still far less likely to be talked about and therefore far more likely to fester and become a real problem. One in ten men in Canada will experience major depression in their lives and three out of four suicides are men. Like cancer, mental health is a serious issue that can fester and spread and therefore needs to be talked about, tackled and taken down. There are myriad ways in which the MoFo tackles these issues and they’re all found on their website and they’re all in part possible due to the charity of men and women everywhere that help fund the foundation.
A Personal Story
Like you, I know people who’ve succumbed to cancer. But I also know people who’ve battled back the beast and are in remission. My good friend Eric, who had, at that time, just finished his latest course of chemo (the cocktail he was hooked up to was a 5 chemi-concoction whose acronym was CHOP-R. Chopper! Sick cancer, boy! Sick’em Chopper! Good boy!) We were sitting around, bullshitting over beer, as we are want to do, and I mentioned I’d been getting up at night to pee a little more than I did before. We’d been joking and jawing easily up until that point and then Eric got grave and said something like, “Mal, that could be your prostate.”
Eric wasn’t trying to be alarmist, but he had literally just gone thru hell to hopefully remove a demon. And he didn’t want his friend to suffer a similar hell if it could be helped. I was thirty-five at the time, and the prostate wasn’t really on my list of things to think about. But Eric was the same age and he’d just been fucked with by Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and I’m sure as shit comes from a bum he wasn’t thinking about NHL until the diagnosis was doled out. And once a thing is said it can’t be unsaid. So I made an appointment with my doctor and sweated bullets for seven days before I could get in and get checked out.
On that blue-grey day I told the Doc why I was there and he asked me a couple of questions. The first was, “How old are you?” and the second was, “Do you have any history of prostate cancer in your family?” I told him my age and disclosed that I didn’t. He said I was probably fine but, “Since you’re here…are you into it?” Was I into it? I’d been sweating this moment for a week now! NO, I’m not into it but YES, get that doctory digit of yours digging about so I can go and get the hell out!
It was awkward, but necessary, and ultimately I was told that, if nothing changes, to come back in 15 years. But here’s the thing I would like you to take from this: It was awkward. But necessary. Hey Men! Hey, Men? Don’t shy away from this stuff! Early discovery and recognition can prevent a somewhat unsettling dream from becoming a full-blown nightmare. So sure, it was a tad awkward. But you know what else is awkward? Dying before your time, that shit is straight-up awkward and more than a little uncomfortable.
So our world is populated with men. You know them, you are them, they’re everywhere. One of the men you might meet during your time on this planet is Jeff Oldenborger. Jeff and his wife, Caylin, own A-Frame Brewing Company here in Squamish. Since opening their doors just under a year ago, A-Frame’s endeavoured to become a vital part of this community. From sponsoring holes at golf tournaments (the Dr. Kindree Memorial, the Squamish Chamber of Commerce) hosting or providing beer for events (The Brackendale Winter Eagle Count, Squamish Regatta, SORCA social rides) providing auction items for local PAC’s (Brackendale & Garibaldi Highlands Elementary Schools, Squamish Montessori) to helping raise funds for such things as the Cheekye Ranch or the Squamish Minor Hockey Association. A-Frame has set up a framework (A-FRAMEwork, if you will) who’s mission statement is this: We love this community, we are this community, let’s help this community.
Their most recent effort was to get behind and support the Movember Foundation. Jeff put a team together and set a fund-raising goal. It’s a lofty one to be sure, but with the help of his community, the craft beer community and the world-wide community, I think we can get there. I say ‘we’ because I was fortunate enough to be asked to join A-Frame’s Movember Team (and was even given a title: Community Ambassador!) and was delighted and honoured to do so. Sprinkled amongst all my delight & honour was a bit of, “I’m not worthy” and a dusting of, “what can I bring to the table?” And while those negative emotions too often run roughshod thru my mind (a by-product of having chronic self-esteem issues, I guess. Don’t feel too bad for me, though- I also suffer from a healthy dose of narcissism, so figure that one out!) this time around I thought I could overcome the one by kicking ass with the other. I may not be worthy of carrying the ‘Ambassador’ mantle, but if I jack my hustle up to eleven and really spread the gospel maybe that is what I can bring to the table!
So here I am. And here we are. I’m a man. And if you’re not a man, you certainly know one or two. And we all need help. So let’s help ourselves and others by doing a couple things.
First of all, Hey men! Hey Men? If you’re having troubles, whether it be depression or you’re stressin’ over work or spouse or health or house, find somebody to talk to. What if the mental anguish is even worse than that? The antidote is still the same: talk to someone. If you’re fortunate enough to have a partner in this life, let him or her know what’s going on. If you’re fortunate enough to have a BFF (this time I mean Best Friend Forever not Beer Flights of Fancy!) let them know what’s going on. If you aren’t comfortable talking to the aforementioned partner or BFF, I would encourage you to reconsider: new levels of emotional understanding are achieved by simply starting the dialogue. If you’re unable to open that door, or perhaps feel that you don’t have that kind of support available, know that there are boatloads of professionals, people that are empathetic to your problems and trained to help you get thru them, just a phone call away. Too often us men just sweep shit under the rug under the antiquated assumption that, “if I ignore it, it’ll go away”. This is a holdover from our caveman brains. Although frankly, I don’t think ignoring a woolly mammoth would have prevented it from stomping your dumb-ass. You’re not a wussy or a weakling for talking about your problems, you’re human.
And the second thing you can do? Donate. The Movember Foundation is a fantastic, efficient, transparent, engine for good that funds a multitude of initiatives who’s end goal is to stop men from dying too young. Go to their site and see for yourselves! Then go straight to my page, Malcolm Yates, which is right here, and donate. Would you rather have your donations show up on someone else’s page? That’s fine too! The cause is too good and the consequences are too dire not to get as many people helping as we can. Donate to anybody on the A-Frame Team right here. I think I’ll selfishly sweeten the pot though, to perhaps edge you a little more in my direction. The person with the highest donation to my page will get a Sea to Sky Beer Guy ball cap for their generosity. You can remain anonymous, if you like, but if you leave your name then I can put you in for the hat. All right, lads and ladies, get donating!
And the moustache thing? That’s just a cool, visible tool to get the conversation started. Your spouse may hate it, but they definitely won’t hate the reasons why.