Saturday, March 23, 2013


What I imagine and what happens in the real life, well, its rarely the same.
Its the difference of a few inches, a few seconds, a mis-timed jump.
In my mind I am magnificent. I have impeccable timing, vastly superior reflexes and inhuman speed.
However I usually become the victim of some vast cosmic conspiracy to stymie my excellence and stupendous athletic ability.
For those of you that don't know me, I am kidding.
Sort of.
See, when I was a kid, younger anyways, I used to try things that were probably a bit above my abilities. Ok, a lot above my abilities.
In my mind however, previous to the actual event, things always went flawlessly.
First time I got on a motorcycle, a little Honda 50 trail bike, I played it over and over in my head. Hop on the bike and roar off with a cloud of awesome wallowing in my wake.
I never for a second thought that I was going to lose control with the first twist of the throttle and ride directly through a fence. A tommy shaped hole in a splendid wooden fence.
The first time I tried to balance my way across a single strand of barb wire fence. I had this crystal clear vision of my cat-like balance and quickness running like a ninja across the top of the fence and jumping with a single leap to the top of the playhouse.
I still have the scars on my ass from that one. Three little lines from the top of the chain link fence that stopped my rapid descent to the ground after the barb wire snapped like soggy linguine.
Looking back it surprises me that I did int learn. Actually I'm still surprised that I haven't seemed to have learned yet.
In high school I belonged to a singing and dancing group. The fact that I can neither sing nor dance didn't seem to dampen my hubris. I was the MC and introduced the folks that actually could sing and dance. At the end of our silly little intro I was supposed to calmly walk in and take the mike, introduce the talent and fade off.
I had this great idea though.
Remember the knee slide? I used to see it on MTV and various other forms of mind numbing media. It was so damn cool.
So I had to try it.
Live performance, in front of some community center geriatrics or something. I don't rightly recall. I got a run from offstage and proceeded to power slide on my knees.
In my mind I came to a perfect stop exactly where I needed to be, snatched the mike and to thunderous applause stood to the jaw gaped gaze of the talent.
I slid across the highly polished wooden stage at mach 6 or thereabouts,  knocked two of the smaller girl talents base over apex and shot of into the air on the opposite side of the stage. I landed in the lap of the director.
She did not catch me.
All of these memories came to me in flash one morning driving the child #1 to school. We were talking about things you want to do but probably should not.
Like wearing roller skates to school.
As a responsible parent I should have discouraged her. Mayhap given some well meaning but ineffective lecture on rules and safety and the other bull shit that adults impose on kids to keep them from reaching their sum-total ability to be excellent.
I am a failure as a parent.
I told her instead about when I took roller skates to school.
My sophomore year.
The school was freaking perfect for it. Long sloping hallways that curved and meandered with nary a staircase to be seen.
One run in particular from the bottom of the stairs at the south end of the main hall to the drama room. Or all the way to the registrars office if you timed the corner right.
At least, that's how it was in my mind.
It never in a million years occurred to me that the night elves who cleaned the building also waxed and polished the floors. To an ice-like slipperiness. Pretty sure they used the Zamboni.
As I went around that corner I became a human bowling ball. I don't know how many pins I knocked down.
I lost count.
Best bowling score of my life to date on one roll.
The child and I laughed at me. At far in the past me.
Hearing her laugh, that joy and electric youthfulness spilling into the still morning air.
Makes me hope I never learn.


Chris said...

You are a born storyteller. I also presume that, when these little stunts of learning happen, you take everyone with you. You should post way more often, unless you have been spinning your yarns elsewhere?

The Tom said...

@Chris, Thank you very much, means a lot to me when writers like my stuff.

Mark higgins said...

Fantastic writings, you had me after mentioning the Honda 50. Mum could never work out why the carpet through the house wore in unusual patterns! 40 years later it is still parked in the garage. Well done.