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8 (1,145)

May 13th, 2011

As far as I know, there are only three existing pictures of me taken around eight years of age. This doesn’t make any major difference to the Somalians or the Eastern Europeans or a couple of billion people in China, and I only bring it up to you today because those three pictures speak volumes about my mindset at that particular juncture.

One of the photos is me sitting on a stool in my front yard with my arms folded, impatiently waiting for my friends to get done with lunch so we could resume our play. I liked to play. I didn’t really see why it was necessary for me to come in from the activity to consume a sandwich that could just as easily have been eaten between the pitches of our baseball game. (Mothers… can’t be born without ’em, but perhaps can’t be born again with ’em.)

The second picture is me sitting at a table, playing in the office of my mother’s and father’s loan company. They owned a financial institution, which gave money to people for perceived luxuries in their lives. They took me to work with them because there were no daycares, baby-sitters, nor could they afford special camps to place their children within. I was always bored, but they wouldn’t yell at me too much if I went into the cupboards and found things to play with. My favorite was fresh coin wrappers, into which I would insert unsharpened pencils and pretend they were army men, fighting each other. I don’t know exactly how the game worked because obviously the pencils couldn’t stand up, but somehow or another I devised a recreational angle which kept me occupied for hours.

The third and final picture is unique because it is the only photograph available of all five brothers standing together. The interesting thing about this particular family portrait is that my other four brothers are all adorned in white shirts and I am the only one wearing one of color. It is so much like me—playful even in my garment.

The thing that strikes me about all three of these photos is that I had only one interest. I wanted to play. I wanted to have fun. I wanted to enjoy myself. I wanted to find a way to make every activity—even those adult-demanded—as interesting and entertaining as possible.

Then I pulled a photo out taken just days ago. I realized it’s the same kid. I also came to the decision that my approach to life has not altered that much. Although tempted and often threatened by other folks to become mature, solemn and staunch in my dealings, I really never bought into the concept. I guess it’s because I am a great history buff, and time passes very quickly. What is one generation’s current event becomes the next generation’s ancient history. Sooner than any of us can expect, we all will join the annals of the past, along with Julius Caesar, Abraham Lincoln, Cleopatra and even the hula-hoops.

If we are ever brought up by the present flow of humanity, it will be to give a nod in our direction, followed by one simple statement about our life’s passage. Isn’t that amazing? We spend our entire existence within the confines of one century, to basically have our memory summarized in ten words or less.

It would make one think that life is futile unless one has taken the time to decide the nature, temperature and feeling of what those ten words might be. Here are some choices I DON’T desire:

1. “He was normal.” (Aside from the fact that I’m not, speaking in the past tense of someone’s life and declaring it “normal” may be the kiss of death…)

2. He always followed the rules. (B-o-r-r-i-n –g …)

3. He was never late on his bills. (Noble in the moment; historically vacant of value.)

4. He never took risks. (B-o-r-r-i-n-g Part II)

Here are some I would LIKE to have said about me:

1. He was fun. (That simple statement conjures an image of someone folks would like to meet.)

2. He was creative. (It is the first nature of God, and therefore always a worthy aspiration.)

3. He loved people. (Wow. Is there anything better than that?)

4. He stood up against the crowd when everybody was doing stupid stuff. (Could be the definition of “hero.”)

5. He didn’t want to go. (Heaven sounds fine to me, but since I’m not sure of all the arrangements, I’m enjoying the present accommodations, thank you.)

Yes, I do realize that I’m eight years old in my spirit—and without apology. I am still sitting on a stool four or five nights a week, trying to get people to play. I’m still searching through the cupboards to reveal things that seem to be common—things that just might have deeper value. And I believe in adding a little color to all the blandness I see around me.

Shoot me if you must.

Just make sure it’s a water gun so we can have great fun.

Published in: on May 13, 2011 at 2:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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