Kant Have It All

Dr. Anthony Cashio is the main attraction in the arena formed by seated students in Zehmer 205.

He leans on the surface of a desk and explicates deontology to the ethics scholars surrounding him. He alternates talking with his hands, wedding band glinting in the fluorescent light, and stroking his beard, a stereotypical thinking gesture that manages to seem natural on the dark featured man. In a silent moment, his brow furrows as he contemplates.

Wearing khaki pants, a checkered button-down and, surprisingly, hiking boots, Cashio is not the stereotypical nerdy professor that one would expect. He does Crossfit, and it shows. However, he is wearing a shade of orange in the pattern of his shirt that doesn’t quite match his shoes. This flaw, while fatal for some, doesn’t detract from his image. Rather, it endears him to his students. It marks him as human, one of the gang – he’s the kind of guy to have a beer with.

Cashio appears to welcome this association as he leaves his central spot in the classroom to sit in an empty desk at the head of the room within the circle. The professor sips an unknown liquid from a travel mug while he listens to the discussion. Perhaps he is thinking about his family in one of his periods of silence. The balancing act between being a husband and father to two young children and professor and Philosophy Club advisor must strain even his brimming mind.

A few days prior in Philosophy Club, he showed me a picture of his daughter in a tutu. “It’s her first day of gymnastics,” he said. There was perhaps a hint of sadness in the locution, a wistful quality. Focusing on abstract thoughts must be hard for him while his mind is so split, partially pondering the meaning of life, partially creating fun soccer drills for his son’s team.

Can Dr. Cashio have it all? This question haunts every man with a career and a family. How does one find the balance between being a family man and an academic? Can a man perform such a juggling act without negatively affecting a different aspect of his life? Maybe it’s simply not possible for men to give sufficient attention to such opposite goals. Trying to force the two can cause both to suffer.

I wonder if men like Cashio can’t sleep at night, tossing and turning, paranoid that a woman like his wife could handle the pressures better. A woman would be better at multitasking, her attention easily juggling the demands as if they were brilliantly colored balls. In challenging times, women are able to keep their calm, while men often let their emotions carry them away in a rush of anger. No wonder the chancellor at UVa-Wise is a woman.

Not content to settle in one place for long, Cashio begins to roam the classroom and occasionally writes on the chalkboard in messy longhand. He knows he has a lot of work to do if he wants to prove the skeptics wrong.

*This is a satirical piece highlighting the unequal treatment in the media and stereotypes about men and women who have a career and a family. Of course, it is my view that all people, no matter their gender or sex, should be able to follow their dreams and achieve success in whatever they choose.*

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