What Choice Would You Make? Something Important to Think About.

I turned 42 years old a couple of weeks ago. I know that 42 isn’t old. It’s certainly older but I like to think that if the Lord tarries I’ve still got several years of living ahead of me. One thing I think most people do as they get older is ponder things that maybe they wouldn’t have given a second thought to 10 years ago. There’s just something about the ever fleeting years that makes one understand things in a different, more mature way. That the decisions we’ve made in the past and those we will make in the future affect more than just us. They can negatively or positively affect those who are closest to us. Friends and family whom we love and who love us in return. This is especially true for the children in our lives, whether ours or someone else’s. As such, we should consider the broader implications of every decision we make, realizing how far reaching the consequences of every choice, every decision we make can be. One can ill afford to take these life questions lightly. I don’t. Having said that, maybe you’ll understand what I’m about to share and why I feel the need to share it. I’ve been struggling mightily trying to decide which superpower I’m going to choose when I finally reach the age of effervescence. My late Uncle Charlie Ray said it hit him around 50 so I figure I should be able to hash it out sufficiently over the next eight years.

The obvious choice would seem to be the ability to fly. I’ve always had dreams that I could fly so maybe that’s some sort of secret message from the effervescent dream fairies. Of course, that would only be plausible if I were to somehow overcome my fear of both heights and flying. This power could prove problematic since I have dreams of being stuck on the ledge near the top of a burning skyscraper as much as I have dreams about flying, often waking up in a cold sweat hanging backward off the edge of the bed screaming for my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Crowley. (It’s a dream. It doesn’t have to make sense.) You’d think the fairies would let me have the power of flight dream in conjunction with the skyscraper ledge dreams just for clarification. Dumb fairies. I haven’t yet been able to fly without the aid of an airplane or a brilliantly engineered rope swing hung from a pine tree on the edge of the lake on which I grew up. The latter was really just falling, I know. It felt like flying for about .6 of a second and was a lot more fun than flying on a plane. The six or seven times I’ve flown on a big ol’ jet airliner I’ve remained glued to my seat. My seatbelt tightly fastened from takeoff to landing for fear that any movement on my part, such as a trip to the lavatory, would cause the plane to tip dangerously sideways, thus sending all of us poor souls foolish enough to board it to a tragic, terrifying, fiery demise. Acrophobia and a firm belief that if I book a flight from Atlanta to New York City I have, at best, a 50/50 chance of reaching my destination alive would probably make the ability to fly as my superpower impractical at best.

Super strength is something that holds some allure for me. Especially if I get to wear one of those leopard skin, over one shoulder, leaving one nipple exposed, unitard things that the guy at the circus wears. Maybe I could change my name to Magnus or something really strong sounding like that. I can just see me now, holding one of those those barbells with the giant black ball on either end aloft with one hand while a beautiful woman rests on the massive bicep of my other arm. I’ll have to check on the uniform requirements. As the guy who was always the smallest among my teammates during my football years, which graciously ended following my freshman year, it would be nice to be able to actually bench press more than just the bar itself. Having to lie about your max on bench press every week during JV athletics can be a little dicey when the time comes to prove it. Never mind that the max you were lying about was 135 lbs. You just have to hope you’ve made enough friends who are willing to lie for you to save your starting job at cornerback. (We only had about 17 guys on the team so that should explain the “starting cornerback” thing for you haters.) Amazing strength as a superpower, though, would seem to lend itself to a lot of requests to help so-called “friends” move. Especially the couch, TV, washer and dryer, fridge, and other heavy stuff. Not that it would be heavy to me, I’d have super strength after all, but I’ve got better things to do every weekend than help people move. My wife says I don’t look all that great in a unitard, anyway.

Which brings me to my final option: invisibility! I put that exclamation point there because, honestly, who hasn’t wanted to be invisible at some point in their lives? That’s exciting stuff! I won’t delve into the sophomoric reasons most guys would give for wanting the power of invisibility. I haven’t been a sophomore since 1985 and am far too mature to entertain such disdainful activities. There are myriad other reasons for choosing this power. Among them: the ability to walk right up into the middle of any group of people engaged in conversation and hear all the great things they’re saying about you. “Have you seen Thad’s eyelashes? They are sooooo the cat’s pajamas. He must trim them with one of those tiny electric clippers normally reserved for facial hair and/or bikini areas. HE’S AWESOME!” How cool would that be? Then you could take measures to accentuate those things and quite possibly supplant the guy on the Dos Equis commercials as the most interesting man in the world. How could that be a bad thing? Of course, if the laws of the various invisible man movies hold true, you’d also have to be naked when you are invisible. I can’t even begin to imagine the ramifications of that unfortunate side effect of invisibility. I don’t even like being naked in the shower. Invisible or not, I can’t imagine I’d like being naked at Wal-Mart or Red Robin or the new yogurt place. Plus, what would you do with your clothes? What if some jokester took them from the bathroom stall you left them hanging in while you went to try and peek in the women’s…I MEAN OVERHEAR WHAT YOUR WIFE IS SAYING TO HER FRIEND ABOUT YOU IN THE FOOD COURT! That’s what I said and you read nothing else! I’m not sophomoric, remember? Geez!

Whew. This whole reaching the age of effervescence thing is turning out to be more complicated than I thought. Maybe that’s why Uncle CR would never use his power of super-intelligence around us kids. It can probably be pretty stressful having superpowers. I think there’s a saying that goes “With great superpowers comes great responsibility.” Maybe I should just stick to saying inane things on Facebook and talking to myself in various bad accents in the mirror while I’m getting ready every day. You know, normal stuff.

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The Great Ice Cream Shop Faux Pas of ’85 (I’ll have Sweet Tea in a Thimble, Please)

This entry was brought about by a picture I recently saw on Facebook. Let me start by saying that I have a question. More than one, actually. Let me preface these questions by first sharing an experience I had many years ago. My first real girlfriend’s name was Wendy. I was 17 and she was 15 when we went on our first date. We loaded up in my green 1972 LTD, it was actually the family car as we couldn’t afford to buy me a car of my own, and away we went to see a movie at the now defunct Twin Oaks Four. Is there even such a thing as a movie theater complex with less than 77 separate theaters anymore? My goodness. I love them but when a theater can be mistaken for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta you know it’s BIG! Let’s get some moving sidewalks in there, people. I’ve been in some where I have to use my Garmin GPS just to find my movie. I digress. I forget what movie we went to see but I’m confident that some combination of Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, and Ally Sheedy were in it. Digression again. Anyway…
If you ever went to the Twin Oaks Four, you know that there was an ice cream shop next door. We got to the theater early, bought our tickets, and had a little time to kill before the movie started so we decided to get some ice cream and a drink. We ordered a sundae to share and rather than share a drink, I ordered us both large drinks. After all, I wanted to impress her on this very important first date. The problem was that the cup the large drink came in held enough soda, or sodie-water as my dad says, to quench the thirst of the entire 101st Airborne Division. As if teenagers on a first date aren’t nervous and self-conscious enough as it is, drinking Sprite from a 5-gallon bucket only served to exacerbate matters. I know everyone was laughing and saying, “Look at that poor sap. He forced his date to get the giant drink. A common error on a first date. Bless his poor, dumb heart.” To make matters even worse she had told me that she only wanted a small drink but I, the big spender, insisted we both get larges. Three years later she would dump me for a guy who knew how to work on cars. The breakup was due in no small part to what I now refer to as The Great Ice Cream Shop Faux Pas of ’85. I’m sure it had nothing to do with my unbearable insecurity which resulted in my asking her every 15 minutes or so if she was going to break up with me. I haven’t had a large drink of any sort for almost 26 years. One can’t be too careful with these things.
I realize I took you around the world for this, but here is what I want to know: those of you who enjoy the occasional margarita at one of the countless Mexican eateries in your town, do you ever feel like everyone is looking at you simply because of the sheer size and amount of the drink in front of you? Isn’t the giant margarita overkill or do you get more for less money with the fishbowl? What exactly is the allure of the mega-margarita?
Inquiring minds want to know. At least mine does.