Danny Saves the Day

There was an old car sitting at the end of our street. It had been there since the beginning of time. Nobody knew who owned it. It had always just been there.

One day, our neighbor Danny proclaimed that he, Danny the Mechanny, was going to bring it back to life.

You see, Danny loved cars. He loved tinkering with them, overhauling them, bringing them back to life. But the rusty junker at the end of the street was going to test Danny’s mechanical limits.

Danny spent hours under the scorching sun tinkering with that bucket of bolts. He borrowed half the neighborhood’s tools. He read greasy tattered up automotive manuals. He watched hundreds of car repair tutorials on YouTube. He was determined to get that jalopy running.

Weeks turned into months, but Danny’s enthusiasm never wavered, even as his friends and family questioned his sanity. They couldn’t understand why Danny the Mechanny would devote so much time to a car destined for the scrap heap.

But Danny was persistent. He saw potential in that rusted hunk of metal, and he refused to give up. He tirelessly researched, sought advice from anyone who would listen, and persevered through setback after setback along the way.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the special day arrived. The whole town gathered at the end of the street.

With trembling hands and a racing heart, Danny turned the key in the ignition. The engine coughed and sputtered. It emitted a cloud of smoke. And then, like a thundering symphony, the engine roared to life.

The crowd cheered. “Danny! Danny! Danny!” Babies cooed their approval. Elders laughed at the historic day. Children danced in the street. Women wept.

Danny was ecstatic. He jumped in the driver’s seat. He released the brake. Pushed in the clutch. Turned the wheel. Gave it some gas. That ancient hunk of junk glided down the street!

The parade boomed. Celebrations echoed throughout the town. The new life of that garbage-can-on-wheels was a resounding success. The sun could not have shone any brighter that morning.

But then …

Danny rounded the corner. Suddenly, a police siren filled the air. Red and blue lights appeared. Danny pulled the car over. The crowd hushed. The celebration ceased. Babies whined and whimpered.

“Hi officer, uhh what seems to be the problem.”

“License please.”

“Ummm … hmmm … license you say? Well, er, I uh … like a driver’s license?”

A few days later, Danny pled guilty to misdemeanor charges for not having a driver’s license. For all his love of cars, Danny never got around to taking his driver’s test.

Men and Stress

Many men approach stress the way Danny the Mechanny approached that old car. They tend to focus so much on activities to cope with stress. That means they forget to focus on the possible underlying issues that could help alleviate some of the stress long-term.

Some men try to fix stress with activities. They look for relaxing diversions—humor, sports, cars, television, drinking. But oftentimes they forget to look at the root causes of stress—relational conflict, difficulties with work, historical trauma, or systemic disparities.

Relaxing diversions are not all bad. They can help some men cope with stress. But men can’t forget to focus on the critical issues causing their stress. Men may never be able to “fix” the underlying issues like they would a car. But when they are able to find the support and resources to work on those issues, they’re better equipped to handle stress in the long-term.

For more information about stress, read the National Criminal Justice Training Center’s paper titled Stress, Addiction, and Native Americans: A Pathway to Healthier Living.