Male ego may be predictable, but it is rarely boring. Take an incident my wife and I witnessed while taking a two-day getaway to one of our state park inns.

We were minding our own business, swabbing egg yokes with toast in the dining hall. In strolled a dad with three cute children, perhaps ages 3, 4, and 5. I liked the guy. He was patient with the kids, and even prayed with them before they ate. He explained that mom was “sleeping in” and that they would save the leftovers for her. The waitress trotted by to take their orders, and dad ordered a plate of fruit pancakes for each child. The waitress explained that the pancakes were big – very big. She strongly advised that he reconsider the order, but he replied, “No, these kids eat a lot for their age.” So the waitress had no choice but to take the order. She warned him, what more could she do?

Dad was chatting nicely with the kids (made me long for the days when our kids were little, before they realized I wasn’t Superman) while they awaited breakfast. Finally, their order came, and what a gargantuan order! Each pancake was the size of an ordinary plate – and thick. The three of them were layered on a large platter with heaps of canned fruit filling (blueberry, cherry and strawberry, I think it was). Now I am no light eater, but it would have been a challenge for me to finish off one of those plates. The three kids together could not have consumed one plate.

The father didn’t know what to do. He expected the fruit to be cooked inside the pancakes, not spread on top (he had breezed through the menu). He stared in disbelief and shock. What had he gotten himself into?

The kids started complaining that they did not like the fruit, so, in a confused panic, he ordered three more plain pancakes (can you believe it?).

Meanwhile, the kids started tearing hunks of fruit covered pancakes from their plates — and getting fruit all over their faces and clothes. The fruit pancakes were not so bad after all! As a matter of fact, they were delicious. Dad asked for a moist towelette and proceeded wiping down the messiest child. He belatedly thought of cutting their pancakes into pieces, but it was too little, too late.

My wife and I were not sure what to do. Should we offer to help the man (and young children — who might be afraid of us because we were strangers)? By this time it was clearly too late. The kids had blueberries and other select fruit portions in their hair and all over their clothes. The table was a disaster zone, as was the floor. I bet mom wished she had not slept in!

Male ego gets us guys in a lot of trouble. It did this guy. We won’t take advice. We won’t stop and ask directions because we refuse to mouth those words, “I don't know” or, “I’m lost.” The years have seasoned me, but, like all the other guys, I had to learn the hard way. I’m better, but not cured.

Some of us guys face the pros and cons of male ego and learn to brave – and even ask for (and sometimes follow) advice. We have discovered we can live through an “I told you so,” here and a failed decision there. We learn not to make promises we will not keep, even if our failure to promise makes us look bad. A significant number of us go to the grave with our male egos completely unchecked. Women certainly have issues unique to their gender, but we all have to admit this: Male ego provides more material for TV sitcoms, and – more significantly – for real-life comedy. Perhaps the aforementioned dad will one day laugh at his misadventure. I don’t think the waitress ever will!

Ed Vasicek is pastor of

Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune

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