I’d been told to throw the lighter in the trash, not to play with it because fire is bad. It couldn’t be all bad though, right? Man had invented fire for a reason, and I was reasonably certain that arson wasn’t even a thought at the time.
Civilized disobedience would have its way, and I sat huddled in my sandbox, every bit as focused as the lonesome caveman sitting inside his prehistoric domicile rubbing two sticks together ferociously as his lady friend got ready to go help some other dude with something he was calling the “wheel.”
Did she have to wear that skirt? The leopard?
The lighter wound up being less successful than two sticks. Minuscule promises of flame flew as the spark wheel struck the flint, but either the fluid chambers were empty or the elements had rendered it useless.
I found the lighter in the yard, and to this day I’m not sure how it got there. Might have been those idiot teenagers my parents were always griping about, smoking and being a bad influence on us “good kids.” When I found it, I did the honest thing, I told mom about it, and had been given the above-mentioned instructions to throw it away.
What did all fire need? Being an eight-year-old boy, I wasn’t sure, but one thing I knew I needed was kindling. I didn’t have to look far. Lying in the sandbox beside me was a scrub brush, bristling with dry fibers perfect for the ultimate starter fire.
Sparks danced, but did not catch.
I grew bored and eventually gave up, Promethean visions no longer dancing in my imagination. Back to an existence without fire.
When my dad walked in with a scrub brush burnt to the composite bristle holder, at first I didn’t understand.
“I found this in the sandbox, Travis. Do you know anything about it?”
Then my mother sang like a canary.
“TRAVIS DID YOU THROW THAT LIGHTER AWAY?!”
“Yes ma’am.” Because I had, eventually, thrown it away. And to be honest I had a hard time believing I had started the fire that claimed the life of this charred scrub brush.
“DID YOU KEEP PLAYING WITH IT?!?”
My silence damned me.
Sometimes we forget things. I feel like I forget more things than most people, especially pertaining to my childhood. My childhood wasn’t bad enough for me to forget it for any reason, I wasn’t abused or molested or burned with cigarettes.
But every now and again I’ll see something that will trigger a memory, much like the story I’ve just told you. Today that happened.
Let me introduce you to Exhibit A.
Some of you may not know what you’re looking at, but I did the moment I saw it. It’s a cleaning brush that has had bristles burned off it. An inexperienced eye might not be able to see the tiny pigtails that indicate fire has been applied to the bristles, but I can attest, after having a cleaning brush waved around me as accusations and confessions flew, that’s what has happened.
Someone in this house has been playing with fire.
Someone besides me.
And I’m not sure why, but when I saw it I laughed. Setting aside the potential danger of it all for a moment, I enjoyed remembering something about my childhood. About the seriousness in my father’s voice as he told me how I would one day burn the house down and kill us all if I didn’t obey he and my mom.
I could deliver that same speech to Aven—Aven if one day you read this I know it was you—but I don’t think I’m going to. There’s no telling when he did it, and honestly, I yell at him enough for things I can prove he did.
But I think I’m going to replace smoke detector batteries. You know, just to be safe. (Hey guys and gals. It’s Memoir Monday time! This is where you write down a story about yourself, steal my button down there, drink a beer, and call it all a win. The only rule is that it has to be true, other than that, there are no rules. I need you to join this week! Once you post, let me know, and I will link you up down there for all my kick ass bloggy followers to go and read! Y’all are the greatest, and I love you. If you want to see all the Memoir Monday posts, just click on the brand new button!! I’d also like to add here that this would be the ORIGINAL Memoir Monday, not any of this other supah bullshit copy meme stuff. So yeah. Imitation and flattery and all that jazz, right?)
I had a particularly religious upbringing. This is something I’m pretty proud of. I firmly believe it has made me a decent (although sometimes thoroughly an ass) person, and it also made for some pretty funny stories as I was growing up.
There was the time when I was 7 or so and I wouldn’t shut up, so my elderly Sunday School teacher asked me if I wanted to teach the lesson. What she got totally surprised her.
“Yes, Ms. Noe. I can teach it, will you hand me a Bible?”
Or the time when I was trying to be classy by opening a door for some older parishioners, and I wound up shattering the door against my backside.
Then there was the time when I tried to calm the storm.
For those of you not familiar, there is a story in the Bible in which Jesus is out on a boat, chillin with His peeps and what not, trying to get some sleep, and this storm blows up out of nowhere. His disciples flip smooth out, running around trying to fix stuff so they don’t drown. They get wicked mad that Jesus is just down in the bottom of the boat sleeping, and they go wake Him up.
Jesus, being the absolute cool dude that He is, gets up all calm and Jesus-like and says, “Peace, be still.”
And that storm did it. It was still. It rolled over. It played dead. It begged for a treat. It got outta there faster than Republican in California.
In other words, Jesus made that storm his lady friend.
Then Jesus looks around and was like, “Really? Y’all didn’t think I was clutch? I could have done this in my sleep and y’all are just wakin me up. Faith, my brothas.”
Then His disciples spend the rest of the boat ride pretty much looking stupid and talking about how cool it is that Jesus can just carry on a conversation with the weather like that.
Anybible, one day I was hanging out at the house with my mom, and I wasn’t quite old enough to go to school, so I was probably about 5 or so.
She had laundry outside on the line, (we were old school, y’all) and a storm was coming up. She wanted to bring the clothes in, but I had other plans.
I looked at my mom and said, “I’ll handle this.” and I walked outside.
I looked straight into the eye of that storm, wind blowing, rain starting, thunder crashing…
…and I said…
“PEACE! BE STILL!”
And that is the day that I found out I wasn’t Jesus.
Other Non-Jesus Imitated Walks Down Memory Lane: (GO READ THEM!)
Alex’s Memoir Monday: Get Your Blue Steel On.
Angel’s Memoir Monday.
Shany’s Memoir Monday: The Family Trip To DC.
Josh’s Memoir Monday: Missed Transfer.
Corrie’s Memoir Monday: Don’t Yell, I Can Hear You!
(Folks, I am gonna try to start something here with this Memoir Monday business. I made a button, and I want you all to start telling your own Memoir Monday stories. I don’t care if your blog is already a story telling blog. Stick this button on your site on your Monday posts, and make me very happy! Qualifications for Memoir Monday is that it must be true. That’s all. If you use the button, make sure that you send me a message so I can link your post to this one! We’re gonna get this going! Thank you! Just copy this HTML code and paste it into the Edit HTML tab of your blog.)
I was not always so athletically inclined. Some of you may be saying, “Oh. You’re athletically inclined?” For those of you asking that, I would point you to this post. Or this one. If you are still saying that after, well then, you can suck it. That’s real.
Anyway, back in the sixth grade, Travis was not getting a lot of play on the elementary ball team. I was tall and skinny, but I had absolutely no athletic coordination whatsoever. To top it off, my family was not wealthy, so the only shoes that we could afford for me to wear were the cheap Wal-Mart ones. This wouldn’t be a problem normally, but 9 times out of 10, these shoes were so slick, they would allow me to stop and slide from the top of the key down to my position at the post. (This was a move I perfected, and I may have on tape. If I do, I will share it.)
So needless to say, I rode the pine pony quite a bit.
My frustration with this culminated in what I’m sure was the most illegal move ever used by someone on the bench in the history of basketball.
We were playing at a school with a relatively small gym. The benches were almost on the court, and so us as players had to do everything we could not to touch the floor while we were on the bench.
The game was going quite well…for the other team. We were receiving a sound drubbing, and I was none too happy about it all. Add that to the fact that I was sitting on the bench, and I had one bad attitude.
As the end of the game was approaching, I was absolutely livid. I couldn’t believe I wasn’t playing yet, and I wanted to do SOMETHING. I got all dressed up for this game, and I wanted some action.
I can remember these next few moments in vivid detail.
The ball was inbounded by the other team.
The point guard ran up the sideline, and crossed half court. He was headed right down our sideline.
“This is bullcrap,” I said to myself, for I was not yet fully versed in the art of cursing.
The point guard was running flat out now, on a fast break and looking like he was going to score.
“I don’t think anyone should be able to play if I can’t.”
I stuck my foot out.
The point guard never really had a chance. I can’t say that I would have either. I had just defied EVERY common sense rule in the game of basketball. He had no idea that someone would even THINK about doing what I just did.
As I stated previously, it was a small gym.
He would up curled in a ball at the end of the court, crying for his mother.
The referees didn’t see my foot, but my coach and every single fan did.
This ended my elementary basketball career.
I don’t believe my parents were at that game, but man. They heard about it. I received a spanking the likes of which I can still feel today. I know that it was a bad idea, and that it was very bad sportsmanship.
But boy oh boy did it feel good.
That little doucher FLEW.
Other Memoir Monday posts today…
Jeff’s Musical Memoir Monday
Y’all just thought you were gonna get outta here without a “real” blog today, eh? Not true.
I’m gonna go a ways back again tonight, back when I was about 8 or 9 years old. We went to a basketball game of my brother The Groom. He would have been 5 or 6 at the time. We were real competitive kids, as anyone at that age is. As we were leaving the gymnasium, we had to take some trash out of our minivan, and put it in the trash cans across the playground. We got to the cans, deposited our refuse, and headed back.
“Let’s race,” I said.
“Okay,” said The Groom.
Off we went! It was maybe a 200 yard dash back to the van, and I was the faster of the two for sure. (At this point in my life, I was like 6’10” and weighed 8 pounds. No lie, I’ve shrunk in height.) There was only one tiny little problem. It was getting dark. The street lights were on, and they were giving everything a funny look. I kind of slowed down to compensate, but The Groom trucked on.
In order to facilitate this victory, I was going to have to find a shortcut. Alas! The monkeybars! I know y’all remember monkey bars. Well, I saw them, saw a gap in the bars, and decided to shoot through that bad boy on my way to a win and gloating rights the entire ride home.
I have an exceptionally hard head. If I had to reference it, think maybe Wolverine (only because I just saw the movie) but not quite as hard. Some people in my life will tell you it can be much harder, but I think maybe they’re speaking figuratively. I hope.
That being said, this was the only time in my life I’ve ever seen stars.
I was back to running full speed when I hit that bar. I saw ACTUAL stars, and then promptly went out like classiness when Kayne West enters a room.
Upon being revived by my father, my hair was discovered on said monkey bar. I had hit so hard, my effin HAIR came out. I had a goose egg the size of that retarded mask thing Lady Gaga had on at the VMA’s. It was ridiculous, and to this day, I have no idea how I didn’t have a concussion. Heck, I didn’t even go to the hospital.
That folks, concludes my story of how shortcuts, no matter how attractive in the moonlight, or streetlight, are not always a good idea.
Wow. I’m deep. That totally applies to chicks, too.