What is it about a guy's childhood that makes getting hurt so much fun? Think about it. Most stories we tell about our childhoods have to do with the 10,000 ways we got hit in the nuts and we laugh hysterically. Sitting around trading old war stories and the occasional scar. You don't hear woman talk about stuff like this. All they do is sit around and compare stories about their favorite dolls, how they all had their weddings planned by the time they were 12, and their first kiss. Guys? We laugh about the first time we ever got our peckers caught in our zipper, or the time that Mike farted and shit his pants on the way to church.
When I was a kid we all went sledding at the reservoir in Lawrence at the top of Tower Hill. It had these huge double-decker hills with jumps and everything. When it snowed the place would be full of kids. It was mobbed.
I would stand at the top of the hills and just listen. Look up at the sky and watch the snow fall against the gray background. And hear all the screams and chatter of fun. Because that's what it was. FUN. And you didn't need a gaggle of adults around watching your every move.
And we all had our own style.
John would stand up on the sled like a skateboard and ride it down the hill. Until the one time he went too far and ended up under the fence and slid into the road. He always thought he was so slick. Thought he was something special doing it that way. He didn't realize that he looked like Helen Keller trying to surf. It just wasn't very graceful.
Stephen would just sit on his ass and hold onto the ropes and go. He had sort of a big head and wide hair. So he would be like a mushroom bobbing up and down as he hit every bump on that hill.
But me? I had the best style. I would step back a few paces then run and leap onto my stomach like a belly flop and fly down that hill. And my sled was fast, too!!! Shiny red with yellow handles. And I swear, I could hear Chuck Yeager curse under his breath as I broke his record.
I would always put my head down and just go. I never looked up. And my hat was red, too. So, I looked like a big, fat dildo in a red hot dog bun flying down those hills.
Until one day.
I was once again astounding audiences with my red rocket of death. People would come from miles around just to watch me careen down those double decker hills and flash past them in a bright crimson blur on my way to another record setting finish. My head down, daring anyone to try and stop me.
"Hey Dave, look out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
I looked up just in time to see him. A teenager looking the other way, less than 10 feet in front of me.
"Hey Dude, look out!!!". He spun around and I could see his face contort in slow motion into what I could only describe as that dude at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark who's face melted off.
"Oh, shit!!!" he yelled. Yeah, oh shit indeed.
He leaped as high as he could, the little trooper. But it was more like a midget trying to hurdle over a speed bump. It just wasn't enough. And faster than I could say "Please don't kick me in the head with your boot and send me flipping over backwards out my sled." he kicked me in the head with his boot and sent me flipping over backwards out of my sled.
Bruce Lee couldn't have landed a better roundhouse.
I laid there for a little while looking up at the sky. Only instead of admiring the gray skies and sounds of laughter and fun in the distance, all I heard were bells ringing in my ears.
I don't remember much more about that day. I do remember the kid came over and asked if I were OK. My friends Pat and Scott who were at the bottom of the hill watching all this came running over. I got up and laughed and brushed it off. We shook hands and went back to our business.
And I swear, to this day I could still hear ole' Chuck laughing his ass off.