So I don’t like admitting that there are ever any parts of anything to do with Batman that I question, but for a long time I had a lingering doubt that the whole “Make the climb…without the rope” theory would work. You know, the idea that only when we are spurred on by the fear of death in all its finality will we truly find the strength to do what needs to be done. Well, it turns out I was wrong. The fear of death does increase jumping distance.
Picture this: H- and I at the pool. Goggles on. We’re in the three-foot deep shallow end. Every four seconds she’s adding the post-script to what I can only describe as an entry into a no-holds-barred splashing contest, “See, Daddy? I can swim?”
I smile and say, “Just about.”
Then she says, “I want to jump in.”
I say, “Go ahead.”
She gets out of the pool and with a decent running start proceeds to jump into this same three-foot deep shallow end of the pool. Her head never does go fully under the water and she says, “Ow.”
I say, “You should tuck your knees up so you don’t just land on your feet.”
She says, “Like a cannon-ball?”
I say, “Yep.” So off she goes for attempt number two.
“Ow. I can’t really do a cannon-ball.”
I say, “Well, then, you should come over to the deeper end and jump in.” She starts shaking her head and I soothe, “I’ll be there. Don’t worry.”
Notwithstanding all the splashing, she actually can stay afloat a while during her attempts to swim in the shallow end. And if I remember right, swimming is like riding a bike. Add these things together, and you will see me a decent bit away from the wall in the hopes that when she jumps in, she may just start swimming to me and more importantly, realize she actually can swim. Ta da.
Instead, I learn that she can jump a helluva lot farther than I ever expected or have seen before as she nearly tackled me in a leap that can only be described as springing from legs attached to a brain that really thought a visit to the pool with her father might be the last event on her earthly journey.
The lesson: Teach kids how to swim before how to read the number four.
His fingers slid along the front side of the envelope. He recognized the sender as one capable of bearing no news or bad news. The fear of bad news might be why he heard his fingers as they slid, a sort of low hiss. He was near his breaking point. His body was on full alert. Finding a slight opening near the seal, he heard the envelope tear as he wondered why anyone would ever buy a letter opener. He unfolded the pages, hyper-extending the crease with a pop. Next, the sound of paper against paper filled his ears as his left hand unveiled the second page.
Then, there was no sound.
In that moment, in that void, he did what any good soul does when receiving bad news. He used the limitless silence to escape. He filled the silence with questions, with doubts, with denial. That led to him filling the silence with Lawrence Fishburne’s voice. “You have to let it all go Neo. Fear. Doubt. Disss-Bee-lief.” Finally, he filled the void with a smile. Because the truth was–the truth was that from rock bottom there is only one way out. Up.
Then, as always, laughter broke the silence.
The woods are
Always darkest first, I remember.
It’s just the two of us.
He says we need to hurry because
It’ll be too dark to see
Each step directly in front of the last,
The trail’s raised edges keep my vanishing course sure.
Darkness encroaching, he says to go faster.
I am struck by terror.
It is dark,
We’re separated from the group,
We are alone.
He is big,
I am small.
Could I out run him?
The plants are coming faster now,
Like my heartbeats, thoughts,
I want to sprint,
Campfire voices announce the end.
I look into his eyes.
He says he’d rather not
Be out so late next time.
(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions).
Clicking away at the keyboard, he suddenly found himself grabbing the mouse, about to highlight and delete everything. He couldn’t possibly publish it. He was a good dude; what would people think?
He sometimes wanted to write some horror posts–he wanted to graphically describe the most gruesome paths out of this life.
He sometimes wanted to write some posts from a women’s perspective–he wanted to have some fun exploring how the female human navigates this world.
He wanted to write without abandon. He wanted to swear, he wanted to be passionate. More times than not he wanted to cause people who knew him to say, “I can’t believe he wrote that.”
But as soon as the words manifested themselves on the screen, he’d hesitate. “What if they don’t like it? What if they think I went too far?” he’d ask himself. “Ah, fuck it,” he’d answer, clicking the publish button. And then he’d feel it–a rush like no other.
“Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!”
He’d then laugh out loud thinking, “If people only knew how much energy I put into each post…they’d think I was nnnuts.”
And there was something more. Behind all of this he would tell himself that his daughter might someday read his posts. And if he guessed correctly, by that time she would be fascinated that he wasn’t quite the man she’d taken him for all those years. He’d hope that if she wasn’t there yet, this realization would be the weight that would finally and forever tilt the scales of how she’d live the rest of her life towards courageously, without fear, without worry, and without anxiety. Just the way he strove to.
Instructions for How To Make Blogging Thrilling
Step 1 — WRITE what you think.
Step 2 — DO NOT DELETE what you wrote.
Step 3 — PUBLISH what you wrote.