Feb 18, 2009


Current mood: sick

"Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward."
Victor K. Kiam 12-7-26 – 5-27-01 American entrepreneur and the owner of the New England Patriots from 1988-1991

I want to start this series of stories with an explanation.

You see throughout my life, for some reason, I have this tendency to question many events that I have and am exposed to with humor and irony while looking for answers to these events.

In the end, I end up asking questions, usually in the form of jokes that only I get, while at the same time making statements that tend to make people uncomfortable.

Or in some cases, just pisses them off.

This is not one of the best traits to have when one has a brain-to-mouth filter that doesn't always seem to work. As a matter of fact, the older I get, the less I want to filter myself.

This particular moment would be one of the very first times I began to question the validity of some of my mother's rules.

I was in kindergarten at the time.

During this time, my mother had a few jobs and one of them was cleaning a bar on Sunday mornings.

It was awesome.

Mom would clean for 4-5 hours and I had a tiny empire that I ruled with fat stubby fingers and my ass firmly planted on a bar stool (A truly beneficial skill that would come to a great use 16 years later).

Mom would be cleaning and I would entertain myself by playing pool and darts (two activities that I still can't play worth a damn).

At 9 A.M. I would watch the boob tube, I would sit there and watch the Bowery Boys, Superman, Sergeant Preston and Yukon king, and The Lone Ranger while enjoying a couple of microwave cheeseburgers (at least I think they were microwave cheeseburgers. All I remember is that they were cooked in their plastic wrappers, and they were "heart of the Sun" hot.)

Afterwards we would go to this Mexican store that was half a block away where mom would buy some tortillas and the old lady who owned the store would give me a package of Zingers and a chocolate milk (I'd get a hot chocolate during the winter months) for free.

My mom wouldn't have a car or drivers license for another seven years, so we walked everywhere.

This was the Sunday ritual for a couple of years.

But on this particular Sunday something in me changed.

You can say this is the exact moment when I started to question some of the rules that were placed before me.

On this cold, overcast December morning Mom and I were walking to the bar. Which had I not gave that awesome introduction, would sound really really bad.

When we got there, the entrance of the parking lot was covered in ice. I mean there was a HUGE patch of ice.

My mom tells me "Don't walk on the ice or you'll fall."

I was five years old.

I had walked on ice before. I knew HOW to walk on ice so I wouldn't fall. I was five years old. I was infallible.

I looked at her and said "Don't worry mom I won't fall!"

With all the confidence that a kindergarten boy can muster, I started to walk across the ice. I was doing very well. I had made it halfway across. While I am traipsing across the ice, I am looking over my shoulder and telling my mom "See, mom, I'm not gonna fall. See, mom, I'm not gonna fall. See, mom, I'm not gonna fall."

Unfortunately, I had forgotten one very simple yet important fact. When walking on ice, one should concentrate on walking on the ice.

I made it just a little past the halfway point. I looked over my shoulder one last time, to tell my mom that "I'm not gonna fall."

All I get out is "I'm not..." and I fall.

Let me explain what I mean by "fall."

I mean I hit the frozen, ice covered ground like the proverbial ton of bricks.

Whenever I ask my mom to explain how I looked as I fell, well, after the laughter subsides, she explains "All I saw was him walking, than it looked like he jumped onto the back of his head with his feet straight up in the air."

That's right my faithful readers, I landed on the back of my head first, followed by my shoulders and back, and eventually the rest of me hit the ground.

Between the stars I saw when my head made contact with the ice covered blacktop. Having the wind knocked out of me, the tears of pain, my mom laughing so hard she was tearing up, and her fear of falling on the ice I was stuck there on the frozen ground.

Eventually, I was able to turn myself onto my belly and do this shimmy/slither thing until I reached the edge of ice patch.

I was very angry at my mom, not because I fell, but because of her fear of falling, I had to "save" myself and all she could do, between bouts of laughter, was to tell me that she couldn't help me because she might fall too.

I finally made it off the ice patch. My mother walked all the way around the bar (there were two entrances into the parking lot of the bar) and she met me at the backdoor of the bar, where I was checking out the rapidly growing knot on the back of my head.

I sat on the steps that led to the backdoor while waiting for my mom when suddenly my brain started firing in a way it never had before.

Why was she so afraid of falling?

I fall down all the time. Sometimes, I get shoved down. But I always get up. It only hurts for a little bit. So why is she so scared to fall down?

By the time she met me at the backdoor of the bar, I was all done crying. Instead I had those questions circling around in my little brain, and I didn't understand.

I remember looking up at mom and asking, "Why are you scared of falling on the ice?"

She said "If I fell down too, who would help us up?"

"I got up by myself, why couldn't you?" She had no answer for me. She looked at my head and told me I would be O.K., even though I already knew I was fine. I began to look at my mom a little different after that.

Nowadays this is one of those stories that make her laugh uncontrollably. It also makes my wife laugh so hard she has to run to the bathroom.

But in the back of my mind I always ask myself "Why was she so afraid of falling on the ice?" (both figuratively and literally). My mom doesn't really take any chances. If she doesn't know what the outcome will be, she just doesn't do it.

After all this time, I have never forgotten the lesson I learned. Sadly though, it wasn't don't walk fast on the ice. The lesson I learned was that some experiences will hurt, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try them.

Or in other words

There is no need to be afraid of falling because if you fall, all you need is to get up again.

Currently listening:
Tainted Angel
By SouthGang
Release date: 1991-03-19

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