Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hills Like White, Uh... Elephants And A Game Of Arrow Suicide

My brother and I were either really insane as kids, or really brave. We were either in training for the future, or playing with our lives. We were either zen-like and pretty gosh darn calm and cool, or we were just plain nuts.

The votes are still out.

bernita, a woman I like to read because she makes reading such an elegant enterprise, wrote this in one of her posts.

"Surprise itself may be part of the magic, when the reader is struck with an arrow of delight, falling suddenly out of a sky of words."

My first thought, was that that was just amazingly "nice". What a nice piece of writing. How nice!

But it doesn't take me long to muck it all up in my head, and turn a nice piece of prose into actual arrows falling from the sky, threatening my very existence, aimed right at me (with appropriate skyward arc) by my brother. In my mind, my brother is standing on a hillock that resembles a breast, and he is shooting arrows in the air as high as he can make them go, and he is inclining his aim just enough to make the arrow travel across a creek and to another hillock resembling another breasts, and I am standing there, frozen, watching the arrows land all around me and deeply stick in the ploughed earth. If my brother made me move, he got a point, and if I moved five times, he won.

When he had shot every arrow that the two of us possessed, I would gather the arrows up and put them in my cheap quiver, then raise one to the skies and shoot it as high in the air as I could, and if I made my brother move with it, I got a point.

We called this game Arrow Suicide, and no this is not something I dreamed.

This was an actual game my brother and I played behind our house across two hillocks split by a creek. It was sort of our version of lawn darts, only we were the actual targets.

Thinking back, the game got scarier the more we played. We both got really good at landing the arrow very close to the other, and we both got very brave - or stupid - in how long we were willing to stand before being forced to run like crazy.

There were some very close calls, I recall.

We weren't smart enough to wear anything protective.

But we survived.

To this day, I don't have many of the normal fears. I can sleep on six inch railings 20 stories off the ground and run saw blades within an inch of my fingers. I'm kinda inured to many things others find frightening.

I wonder if some of the games Steve and I played as kids were rehearsals for life, and therefore a good thing?

Or were they simply the stupid acts of kids who knew not what constituted "smarts" and we were lucky to have simply survived?

I shot my brother in the arm once with an arrow, but that's a different tale altogether.

Sometimes I wonder if others were as flirtatious with hurt, as Steve and I were?


Bernita said...

I'm gut-shot...
Thank you for the nice comment.

Jeannie said...

We were younger in a younger world and "safety" was not as all important as it is today. You expected to get some bumps and bruises and cuts, scrapes and gouges along the way. It's how you learned how close you could get to fire without getting burned. Common sense was needed and if you got seriously hurt then you were stupid and people laughed. Now it would be the arrow manufacturer who could be sued for not putting a warning on the arrow that it should not be aimed at humans or some such nonsense. I don't think the word "dare" is in today's vocabulary.

Cheesy said...

**Shakin my head**.. kids!
Oh and ty for the link to B.. you're right... Nice,,, nice~ very nice!

CSL said...

From other stories about you and your brother, my vote definetly goes to "really insane."

kario said...

Growing up with four brothers gives me some insight into this type of play - I'd have to say we were nuts, too. We had arrows with suction cup tips and I'll never forget the day I hit my brother in the left eye with one. He broke every blood vessel in his eye pulling it off and I got the whupping of my life.

Sounds like good clean fun to me! Personally, I love your perspective on life and the way you took B's phrase and made it your own...

Tammie Jean said...

Not me... I'm no fan of danger. Perhaps you are resistant to the effects of adrenaline? Or enjoy them, like a high?

Scott from Oregon said...

Resistent to adrenaline?

Don't think so. The times I've really needed a boost, I think I got one.

No, most things just don't activate that level of fear response within me.

I sometimes wonder if being a daredevilish kid was the reason, or am I just missing a brain ingredient, like common sense?

amusing said...

Crikey. They asked me to get them the bow and arrows last year. DO I dare let them play with them? The Eldest is too much of a chicken. I think they'll be fine. Unless the Youngest decides it would be funny.....hmmmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

lol my ex husband had stories such as this about he and his brother. the things they would do for entertainment.

i used to own a bow and arrow. i was pretty good but could only pull back 48 lbs. not enough to kill a deer, so I quit. now i just use a gun.

i was too chicken to ever play such scary games as you talk about.

Jean said...

I'm betting you were born that way and the arrow game was just practice for now.

On my way to check out 'nice'...

Jean said...

you were right, of course... lovely and nice.