Dave and Pat Block with grandkids
Hannah Jo and Dane William


Midlife Moments'

Midlifer of the Week

Dave Block

A Laughing Matter

by Mike Bellah

  "I never used to leave the house until the toilet stopped running, but life isn't that simple anymore," writes 50-year-old Dave Block in MMS: No Laughing Matter. "I don't know why I feel that way; I just do." And so begins a tongue-in-cheek look at a controversial topic among aging experts: male menopause.

Though Block is ambiguous about the reality of the phenomenon (he says male menopause is both fact and fiction), he uses it to explain his own recent behavior. "Red high tops are more comfortable than cross trainers. Logic and reason come and go. Certainty gives way to uncertainty and being a Republican doesn't seem as important as it use to be. My wife tells me I'm weird, my friends concur, and my doctor just shakes his head," writes Block.

Block claims that his book is a "technical publication dealing with complex, sensitive subject matter," and he warns us that he uses a lot of big confusing words. Of course, there is a glossary. "I strongly suggest that you read the glossary first so you can become confused right away rather than waiting until you read the book," writes Block.

I did find the glossary helpful. Here are some of my favorites:

  • FIELD RESEARCH--The collecting of facts and details without actually doing any work; usually done with a beer in my hand.
  • BECAUSE--The only logical explanation for just about everything a middle-aged man does.
  • MEN--Plural/more than one man, which usually means a sporting event.
  • WOMEN--Plural/ more than one woman, which usually means male bashing.
  • MIDDLE AGE--Also known as Half Time; when men go into the locker room of life and scribble on the chalk board to see if they can play more in the second half.

Most of Block's short book is given over to describing various male menopausal syndromes (Block says a syndrome is a set of reasonable excuses characterizing a condition). Following are some abbreviated examples:

  • THE DAYDREAM SYNDROME--Daydreaming is the act of thought without thinking. To daydream is to be normal. To actually follow those dreams is to be menopausal.
  • THE QUIT OUR JOB SYNDROME--We feel empty, unfulfilled and seek a new meaningful career. A career dedicated to making a contribution to society. A Ski Instructor for example.
  • THE POWER SYNDROME--Back when men were men and a tyrannosaurus was a tyrannosaurus there was no question about power. Then, along came wigs and the equal rights amendment and we lost control. Fortunately, we now have the REMOTE, which has done a lot to put power back in our hands.

Block's book includes an endorsement from his wife of 28 years, Pat, who says she knew him "when he had hair and muscles" and "he hasn't always been weird, at least not this weird."

Though it sometimes gets a bit crude for my taste (but then there's a lot about midlife that's crude), I recommend Block's book as a healthy chance to laugh at and sympathize with the struggles of male aging. As Block puts it, "We are not weird, but simply misunderstood. You ask, 'Why?' I say, 'BECAUSE.'"

"MMS: No Laughing Matter" is published by Writer's Block Publications, P.O. Box 550, Park City, Utah 84060. Or you may order from the Midlife Moments Booknook.

Best Years Home
Mike's Midlife Story
More Free Columns
Links Page
Best Years Blog
About Mike
Old Stuff