No matter the activity, there’s always a way to make it MORE fun.
That was my mission as a kid, and to a much more measured degree as an adult as well, but certainly less zeal than I applied as a young boy. My constant companion was my sister Carrie, who is just a year younger than me, but a firebrand from the word go, and always pushed us both to make whatever we were doing EXTRA however we could. I often am blamed for the excruciating back pain she suffers as an adult from childhood injuries I helped orchestrate, but I insist we may have both been to blame for the ruinous nature of the stunts we attempted.
One such incident involved a giant pink stuffed elephant.
We had a sometimes Dad. He came around more often as we got older, but when we were really young his restless spirit kept him away,(sometimes incarcerated) but OH when he did show up, it was like Gandalf had arrived to whisk us away for serious hijinks. If we hit a street fair/carnival type deal, he absolutely had to win his little girl a giant god-damn stuffed animal, and he’d throw down serious money to do so, but eventually he’d win. That’s how a ridiculous monstrous pink elephant ended up in our house, much to my Mother’s chagrin,(single Mom’s can be kind of a wet blanket if the kid’s rave on about how awesome their Dad who doesn’t pay child support is).
One afternoon we decided the best possible use for this elephant was to break our fall as we leaped from my bed onto it. The attempt would include a couple good jumps in place, then vault forward for a final big bounce before cannonballing into the elephant splayed out on the floor. Poof!
This is indeed fun.
However, it was up to me to figure out how to make this MORE fun so I decided if I began the attempt atop the headboard of the bed, I’d rise higher INCREASING the fun. Without any attempt to gauge whether this was too dangerous, I scrambled my tiny eight year old body high atop the bookshelf laden bed frame like my hero Burt Reynolds in the movie Hooper,(a late 70’s movie about stuntmen that screwed me & my friends up pretty good), and hurled myself skyward with all my might. As I made my descent onto then mattress I remember pulling my knees into my chest to EXPLODE high as I could, and I did.
The next few seconds in my memory are blissful. Aloft, and flying through the air with a maniacal grin on my tiny face, and then POOF!
The next few moments are pretty confusing to think about, because the elephant burst into an explosion of tiny bits of styrofoam. Everything went white, and I heard the door fly open, and my mother shouting. I scrambled to rise, but my new environment seemed to shift with me, and my skinny limbs just flailed. Mom’s hands took hold of my shirt, and hauled me up out of a fluffy hell of my own making while my sister took over shouting at me.
The elephant was ruined, and it was my fault.
For a long time afterwards she would insist that I owed her an elephant, and I had no idea how to make good on that, but eventually she stopped berating me for it. That’s not going to wrap this tale up in a very satisfying way, but I’m a little rusty at writing, and some of these things I’ll be sharing here are just fragments of memories I’m recalling that have faded with time. I thank you for reading this far, and I hope you continue to read my thought vomit here.