Wars and Windmills

25 June 2007

I Made A Pilgrimage to Save This Human's Race

"Don’t worry, it’s Robert Smith from the Cure....he’ll get me there in no time".

That is the only line I remember from the dream that completely robbed me from deep, restless, sleep last night. As though Robert Smith and punctuality were one and the same.

The actual plot of the dream is hazy. However, I do remember that the world was in peril and needed to saved by me. I also remember the most psychedelic part, aside from when I could sling web from my wrists, was the pending world devastation took place at the same time...throughout time. Not only was my ass-kicking prowess put to the test, but my time traveling abilities. Very similar to Quantum Leap but with a slice of X-Men and a quaff from the A-Team.

Dreams like this cause reflection. I wonder why I was born without the ability to shoot webs from my wrists. I then instantly wondered if I could choose, is that the super power I would want? I don’t think I will ever be able to truthfully answer that most elusive of questions. I wonder if my mutant powers lay dormant and I am merely a late bloomer (as evident from my size 8 feet).

Mostly I wonder if my world were in the grips of a mad man, what I would do.

I would like to think that my steed and sidekick and sidecar and utility belt and costume and canned grin and lightsaber and kung fu grip and steel jaw, were all ready for even the slightest altercation. But reality and honesty dictate that all I actually have at hand are soft muscles, a smarmy grin, and a sardonic personality. With this meager skill set all I am qualified for is slinging biting words that may or may not have the attacker feeling dumb enough about himself to abort his quest for filthy lucre.

"Mother of pearl handled pistol huh? ....Too bad you’re not supposed to wear white after Labor Day".

That doesn't even make sense. It wouldn't do much.

I am not asking for an apocalyptic event, or even a slight scuffle, I just wonder what would happen to me when placed in a situation like those. All my favorite books and movies feature predominately the archetypal hero's quest. This idea makes me start to wonder again: is a quest necessary to act heroic, or to merely be a hero? Is Robert Smith, in his streamlined convertible Rabbit of Justice transporting me to my destination in 1959 because he recognized a need and jumped to fill it....and because his car is ideally suited for the adventure...or is it because he has been through the proverbial ringer and was baptized in the waters of hard core bad-assness?

I think I might just roll my eyes and roll over. I want to think that I would rise up to thwart injustice. I may never know...and that is probably a good thing.

09 June 2007


Despite my continuous attempts to shed the mighty shroud of awkwardness that I so magnificently donned as a whelp, it seems that it is a battle fought in vain. Some may feel that I never fully stepped from beneath its dark shadow.  And while that may be true, I had thought perhaps, just perhaps, that it had gone the way of my Umbro shorts. However, a recent occurrence proves that though the wave in my hair is gone, my awkwardness remains, and is more cunning and powerful than ever.

For your consideration:

I flew to Denver last month for a nerd-fueled weekend. A wise man could have predicted that the sheer nerdery of the trip would tempt Fate to set into motion the long avoided clash of nerd and jock.  I foolishly thought those situations were long past and was apparently in need of a reminder of my place in the universe.

While in line at security, I was playing a rousing game of chess on my cellular telephone.  Pleased with my successful attempt at a Queen's Gambit, I looked up (as if to accept applause)  and noticed a team of lacrosse players from a college up north were in the line ahead of me looking all jockish and as cool as hell. So cool in fact were these young players that one wore sunglasses, as to shield his eyes from the pasty plainness of those around him. It was these sunglasses that would ultimately prove to be my bane. As the serpentine Tensabarrier drove us to and fro like cattle through the security line, 'Sunglasses' and I passed each other. He looked right at me and said "What's up". I, a bit bewildered and not wanting to be rude, responded back with an ambivalent "Hey" and then thought: "how very odd, the super-cool never acknowledged me before.  Perhaps he happened to observe my impressive chess skills and wishes to discuss how to improve his game play". It was during this delusion that it happened. Mere moments after my initial retort, I heard from behind me the shout of an articulate "What-up Dawwg"......Sunglasses was speaking to someone behind me.

Damn those sunglasses, damn them to live with its fellow minions of the Dark Lord in the fiery furnace of hell where its plastic composition will melt and become a puddle of useless nothing. And damn those who aren't blind and still wear sunglasses inside so people can't see where they're looking to the same fate.

I began instantly mentally kicking myself. The self loathing of my youth erupted in my esophagus. I am an adult, fully confident in who I am, and yet there I was feeling sheepish and completely, utterly, all-encompassingly, and totally lame.

It gets worse.

Recall, if you will, that I was in a Tensabarrier line winding back and forth.........PAST THE SAME PEOPLE. I had to see his snide face another half-dozen times before we parted paths at the end of security. I felt him each time looking, pointing, and laughing (none of that actually happened, but in my mind, it was, and more). Was that to be all? Perhaps for an average life, yes,  and at this point the gods of cruel Fate would have felt satiated and gone to bed. But not for me and my role as the Fate's toy.  That awkward moment, with the following Tensa-weave, was to be just the beginning; the gods were hungry and needed to feed and I was the main course.  

Walking away to my gate I start to feel better as the situation is done and over. My confidence begins to grow back as I think: "you will never see that yahoo again". I sit down at the terminal and begin to forget about the awkward exchange, when I start to notice that there sure are a lot of people wearing matching lacrosse jackets around me talking about their upcoming game in Colorado. Sweet cheetah...they're on my flight. He arrives and (this is not made up) the only seat open is right across from me. Damn.  Our flight is announced and I board before him hoping that will finally be the end and cry inside and a little outside as he finds his assigned seat and sits in the row next to me.  Not in front or behind where I wouldn't have to see him, but in the same cursed row.  I felt like I was in a horror film where no matter how far or fast I ran, 'Sunglasses' would somehow catch up.

The trip in Colorado was nerderiffic.

I get back on the plane to fly home three days later, and he is sitting in the row next to me.


Seriously.  Why?