As I sit here staring at my trusty keyboard, it suddenly occurs to me that I haven’t a single inspiring thought worthy of penning to this blogspace. Nothing. Nada. Lacking and yet so filled with possibilities.
So why am I writing. It occurred to me that if one Gerry Seinfeld could make a few bank notes out of a situation comedy about nothing, why couldn’t I write about the same thing.
Nothing is as nothing does?
I hereby cast my latest effort into the black void of nothingness, my words and thoughts forever cascading towards literary oblivion.
Meh, too bloody boring.
While I sit, mind reeling with visions of nothingness, I’m struck by an odd thought.
I quite suddenly wish that I had a portable Jesus for my very own, one that would fit neatly into my shirt pocket. How cool would that be. I could call upon my saviour directly when my imagination is as lacking in vibrance as Cher’s complexion. The scenarios I could come up with, all by dialing direct to my own personal Lord. Imagine the potential for artistic fertility. It is truly staggering!
The downside to this is that having a saviour all to yourself might prove to be a heavy mantle of responsibility. I mean, what if I slipped and fell? He’d be nothing more than an ugly crimson stain. You know that’d be a whole lot worse than breaking a mirror or walking under a ladder. God would definitely not approve. My writing career, not to mention some hope of coasting past St. Peter when my time is up would be blown into oblivion.
Think I might settle for a shiny pair of Clackers instead.
God, how I wanted a pair when I was a kid. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING meant more to me than owning a set. But I think the Good Lord may have conspired with dear Mama about the likelihood of one Master Dave cold-cocking himself into a brain-damaged stupor, and with that my hopes were forever dashed. Still, despite the promise of a concussive childhood, I sought out every opportunity to borrow them from friends. Bruises and contusions be damned!
Cracked skulls are the momentary theme here folks, hope you’re still with me. The beloved Clackers suddenly brought to mind that Kung Fu/Cobra craze that had seized my heart me during the formative years. But as always, killjoy, I mean Mama laid down her last yet forbidding edict about nunchakus, otherwise known today as nunchuks.
You see, everyone in my neighborhood had Bruce Lee fever. This little boy was no exception. You weren’t cool unless you were Kung Fu Fighting with your friends. And the centerpiece of those epic wages of violence were a battle-scarred pair of nunchakus.
My friends all got busy and made theirs from sawed up broomsticks and bits of chain nailed into the flat ends. A little electrical tape for effect, and you were Ninjaboy, geared up and ready to take on whatever invading army threatened your way of life!
I had tried to sneak a pair of my own, but Mama got wise, so I bid them adieu. Mean ol’ Mama was always a step ahead of my secretive mayhem.
I guess she didn’t relish the idea of me practicing my less than skilled martial arts with my equally deluded friends. Visions of skull fractures being tallied up on my juvenile list of injuries must have flooded her mind as she ordered them into the garbage. Unfortunately, Mama wasn’t always there to protect her dear boy. No. You see, Bruce Lee wasn’t the only act in town. There were two gawdawful cartoons I lived for as a kid during that time as well. “The Mighty Hercules” and “Rocket Robin Hood“. Both seemed innocuous enough, but to a little blond shithead that craved his world of fantasy, both held a great many hours of escape.
It wasn’t always easy to find people to play along with the Herc theme, so often I would join in with others playing Robin Hood instead.
Once upon a lovely summer day we heroes decided it was time to joust. Add two plastic Dominion skateboards, two sawed off broomsticks, sprinkle lightly with feigned intelligence and stir! I think you see where this is going. What the nuchukus and clackers failed to do, the end of a broomstick careening towards my noggin accomplished beautifully. I still sport that scar on my right eyelid to this day.
It amazes me that I survived into adulthood sometimes. I’m also baffled how it is that my siblings did as well. The games we played often resulted in someone crying to Mama or Pops, followed by my hiney sporting a nice reddening hue where once pale white resided. Sisters being thrown into the sides of furnaces, fed into ringer washers, tossed down hills, brothers being cracked over the head with pop bottles, the list goes on. I honestly don’t know why Mama dyed her hair so often. Perhaps I had a teeny role in helping her beautiful russet-brown rapidly morph into shades of white and silver. Only Miss Clairol knows for sure.
When I think back to my time as a kid all I can remember now is the good. None of the trauma we all suffer while growing up seems to have any hold on my memories. When I look back to the morning I baked hollow cake for my mother, one she wanted to crown me for because I was too young to use the oven, it is all I can do to stifle a snicker. Nothing sad or traumatic resounds along that hilariously futile effort. All I can feel is a lot of mirth towards it.
As a family we often didn’t have a lot of money for extras. Because of this I was going to have little choice but to attend my grade 8 grad in ill-fitting polyester hand me downs because my parents simply couldn’t afford to buy me a suit for the occasion. I remember fighting back a lot of tears knowing that my classmates would be dressed in the latest from the best stores while I would be parading around in pants three sizes too large, and a shirt to match. I was inconsolable, and honestly didn’t want to attend the function. This still chokes me up, even all these years later, but not for the reasons you may imagine.
If there was ever any single event in my life that proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that my parents truly loved me, this was it. On the day of the grad, I was very down and feeling as if my life may as well be over, a typical pre-teen reaction during those dramatic days of puberty. Sullen and filled with an inordinate amount of self-pity, I skulked into my bedroom and there on my bed lay a beautiful baby blue blazer. It fit like a dream and absolutely disguised the flaws in the clothes that lay hidden beneath it.
Somehow my parents had found the money. That evening I walked up to the podium with great pride . That day was the calm before the storm of my teen years, yet it serves to obliterate all the darkness of that period. I am honestly filled to the brim with love and appreciation every time I see that old Polaroid of me polished up in that coat. There are not enough thanks that I can offer my parents for their sacrifice.
Mamas and Papas sometimes love their kids with an iron fist, but when I think back now, it felt more like a velvet glove. Somehow they always knew when to push and when to pull. Today, I’m forever grateful they were who they were, even during the hard times.
I have great memories of going to work with my Dad, of him trying to teach me how to shift in a standard (to this day I still can’t drive one), or helping me create a science diorama of how an electric current worked, and better yet, learning about what I was making from an expert. Of course, there was also that wonderful time that he had to come collect my drunken ass from school because I decided to swig off his vodka before class. What stands out is that he never punished me for my stupidity (Mama was flaming mad enough for both). He knew waking up after the fact would be more than punishment enough. Those gems will be front and center when I leave this earth. Nothing is more precious and appreciated to me than knowing Dad truly loved me, and that he was always in my corner when it counted.
My childhood was interesting, to say the least.
I often wonder what my parents were like as kids. Did they heap as much grief upon my grandparents? I suspect that having me in their lives might well have been an act of Karma.
With middle-age upon me, I often feel great joy that I am able to share this wonderful relationship with the two of them. I have friends that have lost their parents all too young, and it breaks my heart that they never got to enjoy knowing them as people.
I’m a very lucky man. And I thank God for this gift. It’s made the last few of my life years all the richer.
There are still many unknown moments awaiting as I clumsily meander towards my own finale. Some of them are sure to give stellar comic relief, while others may well be painful eye openers. Lessons from God are seldom learned without pain. But whatever the future holds, I do know one thing for certain. I won’t look back on any of it with recrimination.
I shall wake up every single day and thank heaven for the fact that I had the good fortune to live and learn during my travels here on earth. I know today that each day offers up a shiny new look at myself and those around me. Every trip to the floor I make as is yet another life lesson, and shall be looked upon as a blessing instead of leered at with scorn. On those days that I seemingly lack inspiration, I need not look further than the tip of my bulbous nose to find my muse.
It’s my party and I’ll smile if I want to!