I'm sorry I've been out of touch. In the past few weeks I've been to Door County, Wisconsin and Seattle, Washington. Both of these trips are worthy of at least 50 pages of good pulp turned book, or novella, memoirs on goofiness. So I just looked up the word 'memoires' and one definition is provides is: 'essay on a scholarly subject.' Scholarly subjects? Let me think, so far we've covered the political conglomeration of states, driving too fast with a 2-ton vehicle in tow and other such highly useful information. Scholarly? I now apologize for letting you down.
The following is from my trip to Door County, WI... the land of cherries and Land O' Lakes (TM). There are more stories to come from this vacation, but this one may be the best. And... in order to maintain the freshness of a story it needs to be sent sooner rather than later. And this is a *Fresh* story.
Children are amazing creatures. I admire and appreciate their presence and struggles. For all children I have a deep heart. In their sorrows my heart cries, in their joys my heart blazes. Children are adults without the years of too many people saying 'No!' or 'That's Impossible!' I particularly find great joy in watching the children who grapple with some problem and who are trying to figure it out… you can see their minds evolving, the lobes separating further into a greater variety of wrinkles and connections. Watching children become great, this is one of the graces of being alive, at least it is for me. I know other people really like spaghetti-Os. While in Door Country, WI, I had the opportunity to witness a child grappling with the deep struggles of the world and learn more about the gap between internal expectations and reality.
When passing through an activity room at the local lodge, replete with arcade machines, swimming pool, tables, front desk, walls, and video library, I espied a young fellow, seemingly industrious by way of apparent vehemence. This young lad was buried deep in the impulsive, rambunctious ramblings of a boy with more energy than this body can safely hold. What you are about to read happened in the span of mere seconds, and I will remember it for years to come. Read the next paragraph to get the scoop. It's crazy… for realz.
So this little lad, of no more than six years, found a ball, a big, blue, beautiful, bouncy, ball… twice his size! Oh the allure of a bigger than Life, bouncy ball. If you've never been a young boy, unfettered in juvenile, masculine impulses, you may not understand the following actions. So... let me just say, for all women, or men born from the womb at sixty years of age, or later, when a boy sees a bouncy, blue ball, twice his size, his limbic system awakens. Nocturnal and ancient memories of dinosaurs, tar pits, fire and winged space battles (yes, these memories and more are installed in the operating firmware of all boys – some women have concluded this firmware hasn't been updated in nigh on 414.3 million years… this is of course crap) flood our minds and call us into action. Like Quixote we call to arms against any thing which… which… well at any thing at all really. It is this singular struggle for survival, for domination and for spiritual growth that compels men today and has for centuries. So, like previous conquistadors, Huns and armies of the Republic of Key West, this young lad, shod in the latest fashions of beeping lights and talking carpet animals, did endeavor to climb and dominate that big, blue, beautiful, bouncy ball. Once, he jumped, full-body, as a spider monkey from the jungle canopy, onto the blue ball that so taunted him; and once he bounced off onto his bum. Twice! Twice he jumped, full-body, limbs articulated like the wee-tiniest banshee onto the ball; and twice he bounced off, onto his bum. Carry on young Quixote! That ball is not better than you! Persist and victory will surely be yours as delivered aloft on the bosom of the Angels of Valhalla bearing single serving boxes of Juicy-Juice and peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches, cut into triangles without the crust! Thrice! Thrice our young champion mounted an impressive full-body slam on the big, blue, beautiful, bouncy ball. Thrice! Thrice was the ameliorating succor of victory denied young Quixote in talking dinosaur shoes. Each mounted attack of splayed full-body drew only further confusion as the ball decidedly refused to submit and did indeed buck the boy as easily as one might repel a flying spider-monkey with a series of rubber bands, a 2 foot crowbar, three jars of jam, one trampoline and a credit card (the credit card is for purchasing the ACME line of Spider Monkey Repellents ™ while the other items are meant as a diversionary tactic to confuse the impending spider monkey). Fed up with these shenanigans, the boy turned his attention from riding the ball to punishing the ball for insolence. If riding the ball like a pony was plan A, now came time to enact plan B, a more vicious and unbridled plan, which involved nothing less than young Quixote flailing his arms wildly at the ball, only to have them ricochet off the ball and into his face.
After much reflection I realized there was clearly a gap between reality and the young boy's expectation. He expected to ride the ball like a cowboy on a pony through storm soaked prairies during a heavy hail storm on the back of a tornado and the reality was the Pilates ball was elastic, bouncy and able to withstand pressures greater than a 6 year old, gravitationally gifted boy can create. Real genius can often be seen as the bending of reality to expectation. So to you young lad I say this… Keep it up! Practice your obdurate obstinance and you to will begin bending reality to your view of it. Today you walk off the battlefield, bruised by your own ricocheted fist, crying like a girl. Tomorrow, with persistence, you'll divine new and more efficient body slams designed to subjugate the laughing, nay… the mocking big, blue, beautiful, bouncy ball. In that moment, you will be a true genius and we will learn from sonnets written of your greatness many generations later.
In that child, and in that moment, I saw the ghost of Britton past, both of deep past and recent past (for those who remember the screwdriver, my savior). I also saw the ghost of Britton future when this boisterous, almost indignant, stubborn personage will be born as my son. And he shall be named Scrappy. And it will be good...
And as always, should the need arise let me know that these messages are blowing up your inbox, have robbed you of your depravity and soaked up all remnants of your insanity and I'll make great haste to endeavor to begin the ceasing of the sending of these messages.
- Andrew Dulan Britton