Saturday, August 21, 2010

Finding the Edges

Oh.............Uh, wait a minute.  Not quite ready.  Where's my coffee?

Ah............That first cup is always the best one.   Now we're good to go.

When I was young, oh pretty much any time before I was thirty or so, I often hurt myself trying to push some limit I had no business pushing.  I fell out of so many trees, a parental ban on tree climbing was instituted.  I fell off of ledges, rode into moving vehicles, and generally pushed every limit I could.  By the time I hit my twenties, I had received over 100 stitiches scattered over my noggin, knees, and torso.  Not sure why I was so reckless.  I guess I just needed to find the edges.

Okay.  So I grew up and embraced a saner and safer path.  Afterall, I had responsibilities.  A family, a job, a life others relied on to varying degrees.  I stopped being reckless and stupid.

Yeah right.

Little boys may grow up physically but we never stop being little boys.  At least in my case this seems to be true.  I still fell, only not from trees, but from scalfolding, roofs, or ladders.  I still clocked my noggin, only it was usually because of some work related hole I found myself in.  I still hurt myself but at least I was being paid for the pain.

Then I discovered mountain bikes in the early 1980s.  The fun of being stupid and reckless came flooding back.  Overstepping my skill set was no problem for me in those first years on a mountain bike.  I had no skill set.  It seemed every ride ended with me, the bike, or both coming home dinged and dented.  Broken collar bones, 5 or 6 smashed helmets, and yeah, more stitiches once again became the norm.

My riding skills improved.  I stopped crashing so much.  What do I do?  I push past the levels I had attained and began crashing again.  More dings and dents and visits to the doctor.  Then another injury free period would begin and again I would push hard and ..........the circle is never ending it seems.

"This makes three in a row now."

I looked at Keith and grinned.  His recent rides had been tough.  This last one was brutal and both he and his bike took it hard.  

"Yeah right.  They always come in threes.  I should be all set now."

Both of us were hanging out behind the bike shop watching Dash Jim wash everyone's bike.  Dash Jim was gimping over a recent foot injury when he face planted in a stream bed.  Keith of course had been slammed hard on his last three rides.  I wondered if this last one had not left him with a slight concussion.  I was sitting there pain free wondering if it was my turn now.

The three of us in our 50s were nursing injuries that children usually come home with.  I sat there and thought about why.  What is the draw of pushing physical limits past the point of sanity?  Because we can?  No.  I think it is that the male gender is basically brain dead.  Or maybe we never lost the ability to switch off the sanity switch.  Caution signs can mean fun coming.  A yellow light becomes a challenge.  And as long as we rise to meet the challenge, whatever happens after is unimportant.  We are programmed for battle.

Yeah right.

No, we are just born numb and many if not most of us never grow out of it.

See ya.........................................................................


The Blog Fodder said...

It is the difference between Men and Guys. Men build bridges, Guys hold peeing for distance competitions of the bridges. See Dave Barry's guide to Guys.
You and your friends are obviously Guys. Good on ya'.

PENolan said...

I have to confess that I have a thing for rowdy little boys. There's something about a fearless, confident spirit, bolstered by endless energy that makes me feel all warm, indulgent, entertained and glad to be alive.

But then - I've never been a "Wendy" kind of woman. Much more of a Tinkerbell. Different skill set entirely.

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