How strangely still,
The water is today,
It is not good,
To be so still that way."
"Sea Calm" by Langston Hughes
The story of my life has been being uncomfortable with comfort. Impatient with calm and nervous about compliments. When there have not been actual terrors I have created them in my mind and stressed myself out with false realities. I have worried about what other people would think, and I have not done more with my life because of virtual obstacles instead of real ones. In short I have held myself back.
When I was a kid my sister and I would dare each other to do things. My mother used to put my sister's hair in pig tails, one on each side of her head. I once dared her to cut one of her pig tails off. She took a pair of scissors, put them to her pig tail, and I just remember hearing "shhhrrrkkk" as she cut it off. I don't remember exactly what my mother said, I just remember the look on her face. Her lips curled in to her mouth, her eyes formed a squint--there may have been lasers coming out of them, but I am not sure--and she was extremely unhappy.
The dare I most vividly remember involved a staircase with metal bars. My parents were down stairs in the den and my sister and I were upstairs--for some reason near the stair case. Either I said, "Hey dummy I bet you I can put my head in those bars!" or she said, "Hey fool I bet you can not put your head through those bars!" Either way my life would not be complete until my head pushed through those bars.
My disclaimer is that whey you are young you are literally stupid. There is no better word to describe your state of mind. Dictionary.com defines "stupid" as: "lacking ordinary quickness and keeness of mind; dull." At that moment I lacked ordinary quickness and keeness of mind--one could say I was dull. So with that disclaimer out of the way, I was ready to DO THIS!!
If you ever want to get your head through bars the first rule is: DON'T DO IT! The second rule if you ignore the first is if you really want it to be painful: JUST USE YOUR HEAD! Don't try to use your hands to open the bars a little bit, don't do anything else but push your head (whatever size) through those bars. See, I am all about following rules--so I skipped the first rule and jumped straight to the second. My goal was to get my head through the bars, so I pushed and pushed and pushed. My sister watched me I know, and I did not see her face but I imagine it looked like this:
I kept pushing until the top part of my head was in--YESSS! Then the bars hit my ears--NOO!! It really hurt to push my head through while mushing my ears but my thought process was, "Ears, who needs ears, I want to push my head through these bars and my ears won't stop me!" *Please go back up and read my earlier disclaimer*
Knows what I was talking about:
I pushed past the pain of mushing my ears and my head was finally through! Now here is the thing, when you make it your goal to do something horribly stupid and you accomplish that goal the reality of what you did starts to set in. It was hard to get my head in between those bars. It felt impossible to get my head out. And I tried, but all that kept happening was the portion of my head right behind my ears was banging into the bars and hurting. I was freaking out, because I could not turn my head and the first rule of life when you are a kid is that if you stick your head through bars and can't turn your head then monsters will immediately eat you from behind. This rule is true even if your sister is right beside you freaking out.
I could no longer remain stoic and keep my cool so my parents would remain unaware of my dumb action. Which means that one second after I realized my head wasn't coming out I was screaming like a banshee.
Now this happened a long time ago, so I only have shadows of memories. Let me paint the scene. My mother was definitely screaming. My father was grabbing and trying to "yank" me out of the bars while trying to bend them with his hands at the same time. My sister told me later that "Country Crock" was involved and liberally rubbed all over my neck, face and hair. If you don't know what "Country Crock" is just know that they had the best voiceover commercials on the planet, the container was made of a beige plastic and contained more "butter like substance" than you could ever use in one lifetime. I believe the whole tub was used on me.
After much heroic yanking and bar bending my father was able to pull me out. I don't remember the hugs and kisses, but I do remember the spanking. My Pops immediately started spanking me which probably only lasted a few seconds before my mother told him to stop. Now of all of the few spankings I ever received, this was the only one even then I knew I truly deserved. My parents did not go "Tsk-Tsk son, you are such a card! You know better than to push your head through staircase bars and nearly cut off your circulation and give us both heart attacks. We won't do anything like that again will we? We will do better next time won't we? We are not amused. Do you want a hug?" It was more like, "POP, POP, POP! What the h*ll is wrong with you! POP!"
I don't know what the parental gene is called of desperately worrying about your child's safety, but then when you know they are safe wanting to put the fear of God into them. I fully understand it as a parent now. You want your children to be their best, but you understand mortality. The young often think they are invincible and the older you get the more you know that man is mortal. Doing stupid things can kill you.
My parents were terrified, I know this because my mother was screaming and my father was trying to yank me away from metal bars. They had never dealt with a child who stuck his fat head through bars before. If you asked them now they could give you a dissertation on the angle you should pull the child and the flavor of "Country Crock" that is best to remove said child. But, back then they were only a little older than I am now and terrified that their youngest son was going to lose his head on the staircase.
I didn't lose my head folks. I did not, however, stop doing stupid things. I could tell you about the time I stabbed myself while trying to open a can of soup with a steak knife, or about the time I picked up a hitchiking "potential" crackhead and got stopped by the cops who made us get out the car, or the time I put a battery to my braces---I think I should stop now. As of 10:35 p.m. on Monday, September 22, 2014 I am 321.9 pounds. I am still on track and feeling good. I have to count my calories more and eat better--but I am feeling positive about my progress. Stay on my journey with me and I will see you next week.