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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How the Hell am I still alive?

How the Hell am I still alive?

Seriously.  I look back at all the things I did as a kid (rope-tow on a BMX bike behind a high-speed moving vehicle, 30 foot death drops into huge sand pits, drinking water from the River,) and wonder how I ever grew up to be a reasonably decent looking guy (minus the beer keg gut) with all my fingers and toes.  I did some crazy shiz-nit as a boy.  More specifically, I'm surprised I didn't kill someone else around me.

Just one of my many stunts as a kid
Diving back into my brain-damaged archives (I took a few blows to the head as a kid), I thought I'd share a story from my youth that goes to prove the point that death will come for me one day seeing as I how I constantly and narrowly avoided it as a boy.  This is the second part of the letter for my Dad on his 64th birthday.

Backyard Ninja Wars

On a sunny afternoon, somewhere in the deep of a long forgotten summer a group of boys decided to pass the time by coming up with a new twist on the typical game of Cowboys and Indians.  Never content to simply run around the yard making Bang Bang noises while pointing our fingers at each other, we decided to take it to the next level.  Backyard Ninja Wars!
Grant and Graham Knight had the privilege of having a Dad who knew his way around a woodshop.  As such, they were prepared for this fight long before the rest of us.  Wooden Katana blades in hand, they rallied the troops (The Cornell Brothers-Travis, Aaron, Ryan and finally me) to take 15 minutes to prepare for battle.  This meant going home and getting our ‘weapons’ together.  Now, as mentioned, the Knight Brothers were ready to knock some skulls in.  The Cornells were also well armed having an arsenal of toys to choose from ranging from swords and shields to riot gear and sling shots.  And then there was me.
I was always more of an action-figure kind of guy myself.  He-Man, Thundercats, Star Wars.  The usual fare.  As such, access to weapons was a little scarce.  I remember clearly that you guys had a no guns policy.  In fact, at one point the policy was so strict, that I wasn’t allowed to even watch G.I. Joe on TV.  I had to sneak over to the Cornell’s house to watch it!  That plan worked really well…..until I got caught.
My Pets have Mad Skills
Back at the ‘ol Helmer Homestead’ I was desperately trying to piece something together before my time was up?  “Spatula? No.  2X4? Naaahhh. Dad?  What can I make for Ninja wars?”  I’ll give you credit.  You came up with a quick idea.  You drafted it up on a piece of paper, drew the specs right down and then sent me on my way to make it. My goal:  A Morning Star.  Death on a stick.  A solid metal spiked ball attached to a wooden handle by a foot long  metal chain.  Like I said.  Death on a stick.
Now, being a kid, I was curious and creative.  A dangerous combination in some cases…like this one.  I built that Morning Star.  Built it real good.  Using a spare piece of wood from the scary basement (the one with the furnace that would randomly go off and scare the Hell out of me when I was down there), some string, some tape (to hold it down) and a tinfoil ball with multiple nails driven through it.  Yep!  I was ready to go to war.
If it wasn’t for the fact that on my way out of the house I started that thing swinging and easily snapped it off the string; partially lodging it into the wall, I probably would’ve gotten out into the backyard and, plainly put….murdered someone.  But you were on your game that day and you stopped me cold in my tracks!  After explaining the potential repercussions of my actions, you said “Let’s see if we can make this a little safer.”
So with a pinch of ingenuity, a dash of madness and a liberal dose of “I’m not really sure what I’m doing but I’m not going to let the kid know that” you made me the eco-friendly version.  One stick?  Check.  One length of string?  Yes.  One potato and some tooth picks?  WHaaaaatttt?? “Now go play and try not to kill anyone!”
So off I marched into the heat of battle; spiked potato held high knowing that I was a Ninja Warrior.  Sure the other kids beat my ass (seriously, I got my ass handed to me) but I certainly had the most original, if not the most ridiculous weapon in the group.  All thanks to my Dad.

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