Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How Did We Survive Our Childhood?

I was a mean little shit when I was a youngun. Not to people at school or friends, but at home, to my little brothers, I was a mean little shit! Like the time my brother, Derek, and I found our uncle Sammy's BIG treble hooks and I took off running with the twine attached to it just as Derek reached down to pick up the hook. That required 8 stitches and a trip to the emergency room!

Or the time (one week to the day AFTER stitches from the previous incident were removed!) when Derek and I found Sammy's breakdown BB gun, and, after cocking the gun, Derek decides he wants to pretend to put something in the barrel and I decide to go ahead and pull the trigger. The gun barrel closed on his finger, requiring 4 more stitches in the exact same spot! If memory serves, this trip to the ER also required a conference between my parents and local law enforcement officials to be sure this wasn't an abusive situation.

There was also the puppy in the dryer episode, but Mama caught us before we got too far along and the neighbor's puppy was (for the most part) unscathed but never allowed to play with us again.

Speaking of neighbors, there was this one time when our friend, Bryan, from next door was over and we were nosing around in the top drawers of a chest in our room that we had no business being in and found my Dad's knife collection. Bryan had one of the knives in his had (the blade in his hand) and I, at the mature age of 7, realized that we shouldn't be messing with these things and promptly jerked the knife from his hand, requiring a trip to the ER and 14 stitches. As I recall, Bryan wasn't allowed to play with us, either, after that.

I can also remember me and my brothers using our parents' record collection as Frisbees, but this was before I fell in love with music, and, in all fairness, my parents' taste in music wasn't all that hip, a lot of Beach Boys and The Archies. So I launched a 33 1/3 RPM LP into the air, and we were watching it, and, as it descends, it lands across the bridge of Derek's nose, shattering the disc and cutting Derek enough to require a trip to the ER and 5 stitches across the bridge of his nose.

Derek and I wanted to be Indians one time (feather, not dot) and held each other down and with Crayola crayons "painted" our faces with war paint. I'm not sure what hurt worse, the crayon going on or coming off, but I do NOT recommend anyone trying this. It's much easier to use actual paint, as we found out later when we broke into Daddy's tool shed and found the spray paint. You want blue hair, OK, you got it!

I broke both of my arms lifting weights when I was 12 years old. I guess I should say I broke both of my arms TRYING to lift weights, as I never really got them lifted before waking up on the ground with the bar across my chest. 2 and a half months with both arms in casts, and I broke them the end of March, so a lot of my summer was gone. I had also been playing guitar by this time, and the time away made me really miss it. I gave up my thoughts of playing football and focused on guitar. I started getting records from my uncle Steve and hearing Dylan and Hendrix. I heard Albert King and Muddy Waters. I started hangin' out with my grandparents and playing music with the grownups, riding around and meeting all these "sharecropper left-behinds" and hearing the blues, bluegrass, and folk music styles that Mississippi is so famous for. I can still hear my grandma and her brother, Edmond, in sibling harmony:
High up over yonder tell me what do you see?
Bear tracks, bear tracks, lookin' back at me.
Better get the rifles boys, before it's too late
The bear's got a little pig and headed for the gate.
I bet Derek is glad I finally picked up guitar. For some reason, once I started playing, everyone stopped getting hurt. Music made me "normal."

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