By Aaron Traister, REDBOOK
DEAR WHYS GUY:
Good evening Aaron, fellow Philadelphian male. I actually stumbled upon your article in REDBOOK. My sister buys the magazine, and it was in the bathroom (she's my roommate). So I read your article about male friendships. I thought it was pretty funny and informative, even though I don't have kids or a wife. On February 13, 2009, I lost my best friend. His name was John Pawlowski. He was a Philly cop who was killed in the line of duty. I met John on the first day of the Philadelphia Police Academy. I am not gonna go into the details or give you the sad story. You're from Philly and probably already know it. I find myself at 30 and single, with great career as a police officer, a nice car, a motorcycle, and a good group of friends. I am a pretty positive dude considering what life has thrown at me. I am writing you about one of life's age old questions. When is it time to grow up, and when the time comes, how do you? I have been in my career of choice for 8+ years. I don't live with my parents, and I have means of transportation. I guess you could consider me a party animal; I'm usually pegged as the life of the party. I have seen friends come and go, get engaged, then get married and have kids. I tend to keep the single friends closer. I just find myself in a place where I'm telling myself, Ok Michael, you're happy with life, but how much longer is it going to be funny to be like Bluto from Animal House (as you wrote)? Maybe I need to find a hobby, go back to school, work out more. I have a lot of free time, and I go on dates, but I'm thinking that dating 21-24 year old girls is just not getting it done anymore. I feel like I've been single too long to get into a relationship. The last serious one I was in was May 2006. I'm not asking you to be my Yoda and give me the answer to life, but maybe some guidance. It's tough when you're the one always delving out advice and helping people and you can't help yourself. I will be checking in on your blog; I think its interesting. Thank again for listening. Let's go Phillies.
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DEAR REDBOOK READER:
Firstly, I do remember Officer John Pawlowski's story, just like I remember; Gary Skerski, Chuck Cassidy, Stephen Liczbinski, Isabel Nazario, Patrick McDonald, and Timothy Simpson. Between 2006 and 2009, Philadelphia saw seven of its finest and bravest senselessly killed in the line of duty; six of those deaths occurred within a 15-month time span.
I love Philadelphia, I raise my kids here, and it is the least I can do to remember the ultimate sacrifice made by the men and women who risk everything to keep this city and my family safe.
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For those of you not from the Philadelphia area, if you have a chance today, Google those names and get a sense of the kind of amazing service those officers rendered this city, not just with their sacrifices, but with the lives they led as part of this community, and in their careers as police officers.
I think those kinds of events, those kinds of tragedies, can force us to reevaluate and take stock of what's important. I don't think it happens overnight; it can take years to process. I get the sense that this is what you're talking about.
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The truth is you don't need me, and, with the exception of my appearance, I am the farthest thing from Yoda as you can get (I'm actually much shorter than Yoda). Just because you haven't had a serious relationship since 2006 doesn't mean you can't have another. If you can train yourself to run into danger when everyone else is running away from it, then I'm confident you can figure out how to be in a real relationship-that is, if you're serious about wanting one. My point is, you're a cop. You've spent years developing instincts that you need to do your job. Trust those instincts in the other aspects of your life: If your gut is saying you need to make a big change in your personal life, then make a big change. Of course, whenever I follow my gut I end up at Nick's at 21st and Jackson, so just make sure it's the "life stage sea change" part of your gut you're listening to and not the "I want a roast beef sandwich" part.
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Thank you for your service and be safe out there.
Oswalt or no Oswalt, let's go Phils.
Need help decoding odd male behavior? Redbook columnist Aaron Traister, who lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two kids, is our resident male who is happy to answer any questions you might have about the mind of a man. Either leave your questions in the comments or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with Whys Guy in the subject. Letters, emails, and comments may be edited for clarity and length.
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