I got a hard wake up call last night. The roomie and I were walking through Target when this sweet looking little old lady stopped us. She said, “You are both two pretty big fellas. I don’t know that I would want to mess with either of you.” Then she pointed at me and said, “Especially you!” As we started away from her laughing, she turned to us and sweetly said, “Father and son?” She gestured toward me for the father comment. I am only three years older than the roomie. I really had to squelch the thought of wanting to bitch-slap an old lady in those few moments. Again, in those few moments, the roomie spoke some truth that was hard to hear. “You know, you do act older than you used to. You used to laugh alot more….you used to be alot more fun.” I walked away feeling like the one who was bitch-slapped.
Now, it is true that the different trials and tribulations that we tend to face as we age can, as the little saying that is out there goes, dull your sparkle. I just didn’t think my sparkle was so dull. This all made me think of a certain scene from the movie “Hook.” The kids were all sitting around the table trying to get an adult Peter Pan to remember how to use his imagination. One of the kids said out loud, “Awww, he’s forgotten how to play!” The kids then encourage Peter to use his imagination to conjure up a fanciful feast. After some word to word combat with one of the kids, what ensues is a huge imaginary food fight.
I can remember, as a child, swiping mama’s broom out of the utility room and running around the yard with it between my legs, laughing as loud as I could and screaming that I was flying. As adults, we forget to throw ourselves into things with complete reckless abandon. We forget how to be completely inappropriate. Children say whatever comes to mind. Children don’t care what they look like when they do things. Embarrassment is not something that is a part of our make-up. It is something that is learned. Fear is not a part of our make-up. It is also something that is reenforced as we mature. Think about this one long and hard…..If you have a fear of spiders, imagine what your life would be like if you never knew what a spider looked like or what it could do. Would you be afraid of it?
I watched the dogs playing tonight. They were completely lost in the ecstasy of chewing on each other and chasing each other and barking at the top of their voices. They didn’t care that they were making the cats nervous or that the neighbors might hear them. They were enjoying the reckless abandon of play. Adult humans forget how to play. We worry about our next paycheck or the next bill or whether our supervisor sees us as something expired past our “use by” date.
We are often so caught up in all the things around us that we can’t even muster a good belly laugh. When was the last time you laughed so hard you actually might have peed a little? Or when did you last abandon your dignity enough to climb on a see-saw in the middle of the playground?
A friend of mine was talking about all the things she was able to experience at a street festival today…..It brought back memories of another friend. This friend had a tumor on her pituitary gland when she was younger so it affected the way her brain “aged” so to speak. She was always asking me to go to fairs and festivals and all kinds of things that most adults are through with. I remember one night in particular at our county fair. There was a ride called the bullet. Now that night, not only had she stuffed me with every kind of carny food known to man, but she stuffed my rather substantial ass into “The Bullet.” I was wedged in so tight that I could barely breathe. The ride spun and slung and twisted and I could feel every ounce of that food churning. When the ride stopped, I realized I was stuck like a sausage inside of this metal tube. The guy manning the controls pulled and pushed and did all he could to get me loose, but it wasn’t happening. I was laughing and crying and screaming all in one breath. I finally resigned myself to the fact that they were going to have to call for the jaws of life to release me from my metal prison. I visualized the headlines of the local paper the next day and I screamed louder. All of a sudden something loosened and I poured out like melted butter in the dirt. I laid there laughing so hard that I forgot how embarrassed I was.
So this morning, I woke up in a real pissy mood. It stayed that way for most of the day. Finally at about 5 o’clock I had gotten damn tired of it. I went into the closet and dug out my fanciest besom. I took it into the courtyard, climbed on top of the yard sofa, and jumped and ran around the courtyard. I really didn’t give a double damn about who might have heard or seen me. I needed it. I needed to do something with complete reckless abandon. And I needed to laugh at myself doing it…..and I did.
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