l like to think that I’m no mere mortal, most times. It comes from drinking lots of milk as a child and being stupidly lucky in dodging life’s curve balls. Murphy, on more than one occasion, has had to put his arm around Darwin, and console him that not every fool (looking directly at me), gets to meet his just reward. I dance between rain drops, as the saying goes.
Like the time when, after watching Mary Poppins, I thought I could fly, or at least float with an umbrella. I climbed to the garage roof, Murphy nodding me on, made sure I had a firm grip on my means of conveyance, and leaped into the void. Now, there are a lot of complex, real world calculations that come into play when such a situation occurs. At 11, I was not really into to physics yet, just immediate gratification. Got it, in spades. I landed with a splat, slightly slower with the umbrella than without. Jammed my hip good, but was able to turn around and smile at my buddy Murphy on the roof. He just shook his head.
Or the time, years later in Arizona, riding a dirt bike down a trail. I was in my mid 20’s, having the time of my life, ripping around in the desert with a friend of mine. Of course, back then, nobody wore helmets or any safety gear. We just lived and learned. My buddy had indicated we should take this particular trail and Murphy, who was riding with me, whispered that I should take the lead. I was on a dirt bike, and my buddy was on a quad. I gunned the throttle and got out in front. Tooling along, I was dodging cactus and large rocks, going too fast to really notice the dry wash that came out of nowhere. The ground just dropped out from under me, and I hit the throttle, revving the engine to get the back tire spinning to lift the front end of bike. Like everybody says, time slows way down, you see things in slow motion. I noticed that Mr Murphy had jumped off the bike before the wash and I was inexorably sailing down to the very large rock at the bottom of the wash. It was a 10 foot drop, and I was able to land on my back tire.
And as we all know, every action has an equal, opposite reaction. My force, speed and sporty attitude, was met with an opposite reaction of me flying off my bike, watching it do an end over end, kind of circling around me in a ballet of stupid. I am sure even the East German judge would give me high marks for style and execution. Things were going slow enough, that I felt I could reach out and gently touch my bike as it pirouetted about me. And then we landed. I am not quite sure how I missed all the sharp rocks that my bike landed in, but I was rewarded with several soft cacti in my landing zone.
This was the time Darwin had to be emotionally calmed down and lead away. As the kids today would say, h8ers gonna h8.
Now that I am older and supposedly much wiser, tonight the dog wanted to play. He was amped up and really wanting something to fly off the handle about. The UPS man had just delivered a package at the end of the driveway and I had the dog sit and wait for a bit, just to spice things up. And then I exploded off the porch, with him yipping something about “cheater” and sprinting after me. He caught me in 3 strides, and I poured the speed on, laughing at both of us.
If you have ever watched The Road Runner cartoon, you’ve all seen the Coyote chasing the Road Runner, leaning into his run, legs blurring with a tornado like sound… Yah, I was like that, at first thinking I was the Road Runner, being chased by the crazy canine; until I noticed I was out-running my legs, and pile-drivered into the ground, landing on my right shoulder. Definitely Coyote, complete with a puff of dust after the crash. The dog thought this was the greatest part of the game, jumping around, nipping and trampling me, wanting me to get up and do it again. Ah sure, lets not and say we did.
I got up, pushing the dog off repeatedly, all part of the game. I tried moving my shoulder and wondered if I was finally able to break something. My family Dr. told me when I was 11, (the Poppins incident) my bones were too stout to break, I would just tear ligaments and stuff. He told me it was all the milk I was drinking. Fast forward 45 years later, he was right again. Didn’t break nothin’ but I’m not going to be lifting my right arm any time soon. Murphy, who might have pushed me, mumbled that I will have to learn how to live life left handed for awhile. I heard my Mom’s voice saying “when are you going to act your age?” Soon Ma, soon.