Thirty-five years ago there was no doubt in my mind that I could be Evel Knievel and play centerfield for The Los Angeles Dodgers.
It is one of the blessings bestowed upon you by childhood- knowledge that anything is possible. With a little imagination you could see yourself doing things that should have been impossible but weren’t because you just know that you could.
That knowledge and certainty is a big part of what got me into trouble a million different times but it is also what kept me from getting seriously injured. Every time my friends and I tried some kind of stunt we did so with the knowledge that if we weren’t scared nothing bad could happen to us.
Nik Wallenda brought a lot of that back to me. I watched him stroll across a rope stretched over Niagara Falls and remembered discussions with the guys about whether we would be willing to ride a barrel over the falls.
I remember thinking that if I packed a couple of pillows properly it wouldn’t hurt when the barrel hit the water. Fear was something that I didn’t associate with waterfalls. I wasn’t a big fan of the dark and that bigfoot robot character on The Six Million Dollar Man scared me, but not the falls.
The falls would be easy. Evel Knievel crashed a million times and he never stopped getting back on the bike so I figured it couldn’t be that hard. Fall down and get back up. Keep walking and keep climbing.
Thirty-five years ago it never occurred to me that I would have mysterious aches and pains or that my body wouldn’t respond immediately to any and all requests. I never thought that one day I would look at pictures of myself in horror or look at the mirror and be irritated with what I saw. Vanity, thy name is Jack.
But I will add that I hold myself accountable for the current situation. I am not in the shape I want to be in because I like to eat more than I like to stop. I still exercise. I still move. I am in far better shape than many and worse than others.
It is up to me to fix the few issues and accept the things that I can’t change. Some of these mystery aches are from those days long ago and the ones that follow. You can’t put your body through all the pounding that I did and still do without receiving some sort of angry response.
Three of the people I care most about are going to celebrate their first Father’s Day without their fathers. I am sorry for their losses and well aware of how lucky I am to still have my dad. I am also quite conscious of my responsibility to my own children.
When they ask me why I insist on trying to exercise and play ball as often as I do I tell them that it is because I love them and me. I don’t want to be the guy who is old before his time. God willing I am going to die with of my faculties and without having lost the ability to take care of myself.
Of course that is one more reason why I need to stop burning the midnight oil every night. Four hours of sleep just isn’t enough anymore and given the coming changes it is time to start learning how to get to bed by midnight or earlier again.
Do Daddy Bloggers Get Paid?
My daughter wants to know if daddy bloggers get paid and says that if we do then the mommy bloggers should get paid too. When she tells me this I choke back a giggle. This is serious stuff to her and I can see she will be upset if she thinks I am not responding in kind.
I don’t know where she got this idea or what made her think about it but it is funny to me. I am guessing she heard one of a series of conversations I have had recently about how bloggers can generate income.
She tells me that a girl could walk across Niagara Falls just as easily as a boy could. I tell her she is right and she asks me if I will listen to her sing the new love song she wrote.
This love song business is new. She says that she isn’t writing them for boys and explains that she just likes writing. I nod my head. I understand the joy that writing brings.
And then she tells me that when she grows up she is going to be a singer, a mommy, a teacher and maybe a professional athlete. I ask her how she knows and she rolls her eyes.
“Dad, I can do anything I want to do.”
I smile and tell her she is absolutely right, except for one thing. She asks me what and I tell her that she can’t put out a campfire by peeing on it. Her eyes get wide and I can see her formulating an appropriate response, “boys are just ridiculous.”
“Yes, we are honey. But sometimes we have to mix in some fun with the serious.”
And now I have to say Happy Father’s Day. This father needs to go to sleep so that he can dream about jumping over 30 trucks or flying over the Snake River.