Disclaimer: I don’t own Pokémon or philosophy.

Summary: Ash finds out what it means to be a man.

Speech. Thoughts.


SURPRISE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” Everyone whistled and cheered as Ash walked into the room and grinned. ‘I figured that they might do this.’ “Wow, I had no idea, guys, thanks. Hey, cake!” Misty sighed as Ash was dragged away before he could inhale the entire cake. ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same.’ She grinned as Ash came up to her. “Happy eighteenth birthday, Ash.” “Thanks, Misty.” he grinned back. “It’s been some crazy eight years, hasn’t it?” “Yep. Eight years living in fear of the mallet...” he dodged as said implement of destruction whipped over his head. “Watch it, Ash, if you wanna make it another eight years at all.” Misty growled with a small smile. Ash grinned. He knew she was just kidding.


Several hours later, the party had finally wound down and broken up. Ash practically strutted into the living-room, grinning widely. “Today, I am a man!” he announced proudly. Misty sighed. ‘Oh boy...’ “No you’re not, Ash.” Ash frowned as their friends back away. They’d all learned the warning signs by now. “What do you mean?!” Misty stood up. “Becoming a man has absolutely nothing to do with turning a certain age, Ash.” Delia came out of the kitchen, ready to act as mediator. Misty continued, seemingly unaware of the others discomfort. “It has nothing to do with age, experience, or even whether or not you’ve had sex. It’s the things you do, and the way you act towards other people and the world in general, that dictates if anybody is a man.” She stopped and sighed before smiling faintly at him. “There are many roads to take to become a man, Ash, and with your lousy sense of direction, it’s gonna take you a while to find the right one.”


Later that night, Ash lay awake, thinking about what Misty had said. “Hey, Brock?” Brock groaned and rolled over. “What?!” came his voice, muffled by his pillow. “About what Misty said, about being a man, what do you think?” Brock rolled over and looked at Ash. “Well, on the one hand, I’m kinda annoyed because now I don’t know if I’m a man... but on the other hand, she did kinda have a point. I mean, there are many people who might be thought of as men, but don’t really deserve it. And James is a man, but he wears women’s clothing... so you really gotta wonder how the whole thing is decided.” Ash nodded. ‘Yeah, she did have a point, although I’d never tell HER that!’


A few days later, Ash, walked around Viridian City, looking for a cheap place to eat. They’d stopped for the night on their way to take Misty back to Cerulean City. Brock and Misty had gone supplies shopping, leaving Ash alone at the Pokécenter, but he’d gotten bored and wandered off. As he passed a nearby alleyway, he heard a scuffle and a small, stifled scream. Backing towards the entrance, Ash looked around stealthily before glancing in. Moments later, he was standing over an unconscious blonde in a leather jacket whose face was rapidly swelling up. Ash knelt down. “Are you okay?” he asked the girl cowering behind a dumpster. Soundlessly, he escorted her back to the Pokécenter. 


Whoa, did he really?!” Misty looked over at Ash, trying to get a drink out of a jammed vending machine. ‘Wow!’ She walked over and stuck her arm up inside the machine, pried the stuck can out, opened it and handed it over. “Thanks, Misty.” Misty smiled as Ash took long, deep gulps. “What?!” he said, finally noticing her look. Misty shook her head and, placing one hand on his shoulder, smiled. “Okay, NOW you are a man, Ash.” She said, glancing over at the girl giving a statement to Officer Jenny. Ash blushed. “Er, really?!” Misty nodded. “Yep, but you’re still a twerp.” “Fair enough.” He returned her grin with one of his own.


Right, I was just sitting, minding my own business, playing solitaire on the computer, when this one popped into my head. Strange that... so, I switched programs and got to work. It’s true, some people, like rapists and child molesters, don’t deserve to be called human, let alone men. And the least said about James the better... What makes a man a man is simply down to how he acts and treats other people, and not just in public. Many so-called-men treat their families like dirt at home, but to everyone else, they’re god on earth. ‘Do unto others...’ is the key here.


6-Apr-09 (fixed)