February [Stories] 20

Children are very impressionable. No matter how much you think you may think your child isn’t, they most certainly are. I’m not talking about video games or anything like that. But sometimes its what you least expect that will make it obvious.

For me, I saw things on TV and thought they were the coolest, so I wanted to try them. I was a bit of a risk taker, like most young boys. My parents were pretty lax when it came to what I could watch on TV. As long as there was no fowl language, or nudity, I was pretty much allowed. Oh, and my dad had a real issue with people “constantly screaming” on TV shows, so he wouldn’t like when I watched NICK often. Keenan and Kel was on the short list of shows that was “too loud” for standard viewing. But that’s a bit irrelevant from the story.

I was flipping the channels when I came across the X-Games. You know, all the skate-boarders, bmx, and all those types of competitions. I found the concept of street luging to be absolutely thrilling. I watched as they raced about, slamming into walls, and reaching those high speeds really cool.

Fortunately for me, our driveway was a massive hill, and nicely paved to boot. If you read about my sledding incident in a previous story, you’ll know that it was prefect for such a sport. I racked my small 5 or 6 year old mind as hard as I could to come up with how to accomplish it. I had an old skateboard that was probably from the 70s, and a box. The skateboard was probably only a foot long, and not the lowest thing to the ground. I had a rather oversized box, maybe for a small refrigerator. I slapped the box onto the skateboard and found the appropriate balancing act.

It was a challenge at first but I got the hang of getting on. Then I started on down the driveway. When I felt I was going fast enough, I would lean and roll into the grass. Now gravity was the only thing holding that box and me on the skateboard. So when the board would stop, the box would just slide along the grass until it came to a nice stop. I was hooked. The adrenaline was pumping, and I ran up and down that driveway dozens of times.

Harmless fun right? Wrong. Although it was harmless when it worked, eventually, it didn’t, and I had no backup plan. Mind you, if you saw a kid even doing this today, you’d have the cops at your door so fast for child endangerment. My mom knew what I was doing, and I never really went more than halfway down the driveway. I wasn’t stupid, I knew I could get hurt.

Well, on what ended up being my last run of that game, I set up like normal, and took off down the driveway. I picked up speed like I had all the other times, and I continued to roll maybe a little further than I had been. So I had some good speed going. However, this time when I went to bail off the board, before the skateboard had any time to hit the grass, the corner of the box struck the ground first. Like something out of a cartoon, I was launched from the box, and proceeded to summersault about 4 times before landing. I believe I scratched up my elbow, but I can’t remember 100 percent now.

I sadly looked at my box, and my skateboard. I had learned a lesson. I grabbed both and dragged them back up to the house. I don’t believe I ever did it again. I wasn’t crying about what had happened. But I was a quick learner as kid. I knew unless I could think of a better way to do it, I shouldn’t do it again. Unfortunately, I never did think of a better way. I doubt kids still think like that. But I did, and I kept that attitude in life moving forward. Live and learn.

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