Delusions And Hope - 05.08.00

When I was very young, I was typical in that I saw professional athletics as the thing that I wanted to do when I grew up. From about age 6 until about age 9, I clearly remember telling people I knew that I was going to be a pro basketball player when I got older, and if that didn't work out I would play pro baseball. My last resort was that I'd play pro football, but I hoped that I wouldn't have to fall back on that.

As I got older, I realized that I couldn't play baseball worth a damn and I was simply too scrawny to play football without getting destroyed. Even after playing basketball through junior high and every year of high school, I quickly came to the realization that a decent vertical jump and marginal playing skills weren't going to even cut it on a small college level. I wasn't too heartbroken by it, but it was kind of interesting to think back to my childhood and see how much my views had changed over the years.

I've tried constructing different things as well, but I've never had very good luck with it. Sure, I made a couple birdhouses when I was a little kid, but those where never too hard when I had a grown-up helping me. In junior high, I actually tried making my own skateboard deck once. I didn't realize that you had to have specially treated wood and other techniques to work the wood, yet keep it rigid, though. After cutting the shape out of a regular piece of plywood about the correct thickness, I soaked it in a pan of water for weeks with clamps and weights in different positions to make the tail of it bend upward.

Finally, I took it out of the water and spray painted the bottom of it and put a couple stickers on it for good measure. I drilled the holes for the trucks and put everything on it and got it going like I wanted it. Within 10 minutes of riding, it snapped in half and my nearly 3 weeks of work was gone in an instant.

Also throughout my life, I've always tried to draw. Parents and relatives that saw my work always called me an artist, but I always sort of thought differently about it. My penchant for drawing was always taking a picture of something and then copying that down onto paper with a pencil or ink. Whenever I tried to draw something out of my own mind or a person, I could never get things to look like I wanted them. My hands simply couldn't recreate what was going on in my mind and it was a constant source of frustration. I still do drawings occassionally, but I never show them to anybody, except those whom I know won't laugh.

Another thing I tried to do was sing. I was always singing as a kid, but I was actually kicked-out of junior high chorus because the teacher told me that I was tone-deaf. Undaunted, I went back to singing in high school, and even was on the choir for several years, but let everything slide once I hit college. I simply didn't have the devotion for it, and the things that I enjoyed singing weren't really very high on the agenda of things that were favored by college professors. Again, I was relegated to a lifetime of singing for myself or only those whom I felt close enough to that they wouldn't laugh at me.

One thing that I've always been envious of some people for is their ability to simply speak well. Many people I've met throughout my life mold words and phrases into complete eloquence. I get enchanted just by hearing some people talk (unless I know that they completely don't know what they're talking about) and wish that my own mouth wouldn't stumble and fall so much in forming the things that I really want to say in my head. Sometimes, I just want to take sounds and invent words to describe feelings that I know I won't be able to describe without making them sound trite.

The thing that I'm left with is writing. Even as a kid, I filled notebooks with silly stories about my friends and I going on Indiana Jones style adventures, and soon it progressed to high-school essays and book reports. In college, though, I re-discovered writing for fun and for myself and I've tried to do it on a regular basis since. It's something that's kept me up at nights, banging away on my keyboard until 3am, trying to get words in the correct order to express how I feel and it's the one thing that I always seem to go back to after my other failed attempts.

Instead of opening my mouth that's never been able to form words as I want it to or sing for others to enjoy, I sit and write. I use the hands that failed to take me to the big leagues in baseball or construct things properly or draw the things that I wanted. With a pen or a keyboard, I only hope that I've found the thing that I'm decent at.