In 1985, at a time when society was struggling with gender based issues and books like "Why Men Are The Way They Are" and "The Hazards of Being Male" were attempting to lead men (and women) in another direction - I wrote the following story.
“The Land of The Nams and The Nims”
Once, long ago, in a far away land there lived an odd group of people. They lived much the way we do, eating, sleeping, playing and such things, but in this land there where two types of people, the Nams and the Nims. Oddly enough, the only difference between the Nams and the Nims was a simple steel plate.
You see, when a new child was born, it was decided if that child would be a Nam or a Nim. The Nams were the rulers. They made all of the important decisions, did all of the hard work and were served by the Nims. Both the Nams and the Nims where born exactly alike, small hands, round hairless faces, big brown eyes and most importantly, with a small hole in their chest, right over there heart. It was a dangerous hole, because, as every Nam knew, if anyone touched your heart, you would surely die. Thus, those that were picked to be Nams had a steel plate fixed to their bones over their heart hole. This made it safe for them to rule, of course,”
“On one day, a young Nam named Ned was following the instruction of his teacher. ‘Remember, Ned,’ he said with a strong huffy voice, ‘Your job will be very important and you must always remember to hold your head high and work hard.’ ‘Yes, sir,’ the young Nam replied. As they walked down the hall, two young Nims passed them and quickly entered a room off the hallway, laughing as they went. “What are they doing in there,” Ned asked? “Just silly Nim stuff, cooking, cleaning… Don’t worry about,” grunted the teacher. At that moment another Nam ran up, “Master Teacher,” the young Nam excitedly announced, “there is trouble in the outer garden! A dragon I believe!” Well, before Ned knew what happened, the teacher and the messenger had left Ned there, standing alone in the hall. “Figures,” Ned thought, “I miss everything.” Ned turned to head back down the hall to the small room he kept, when Ned passed the door the young Nims had entered and heard them laughing again. Then Ned had a thought, a clever little thought. “I bet I can find out what they are doing,” Ned reasoned. Without another thought, Ned ran down the hall to the boiler room and slipped inside. Making sure no one had followed; Ned closed the door, and grabbing a chair, the young Nam climb up and into an air ventilation pipe. Ned knew the way, and soon had crawled into the pipe directly back to the Nim room and was peering down the vent at them. Teacher was right, they were cleaning, washing dishes, and stacking towels, and all the while, they would laugh and giggle with each other. Ned was a little disappointed, but figured that The Master was right. Nims were silly and less interesting than Nams. “It was good to be a Nam. It is good to rule,” Ned thought, and touched the plate over Ned's chest proudly and started to slowly crawl back down the pipe. Then Ned heard a scream come from the room below. Ned looked quickly. One of the small Nims had been hurt. It looked like a tray had fallen and hit its head, cutting the Nim's face. The small Nim knelt to the floor and cried. Then Ned saw the most peculiar thing. The older Nims moved close and gathered around in a circle. One by one, they reached out to the Nim and, to Ned's disbelief, touched the Nim's heart hole. Ned gasped. “They are going to kill...” Ned's mind raced, “What should I do?” But, the little Nim did not die. Instead, as each one touched the heart hole heart, the Nim began to feel better. The young Nim stopped crying, stopped bleeding and soon they were all laughing and singing again.
Ned looked down at the steel plate that separated the heart from all others, and wondered...