Many people have asked me over the years “What happened to you?” Initially I did not understand the question. I would begin to relate what happened that day, beginning with waking up with my “Barney the Dinosaur” alarm clark ringing it’s “I love you, you love me…” song. (How can you NOT be in a good mood when waking up that way? Can life be better? I submit that it CANNOT!) Then, I’d relate every minute of that day to the questioner. While I felt this might be somewhat tedious to listen to, I did not want to neglect missing the morsel of information that he or she was looking for. I felt that it was, in essence, my duty to be specific.
More times than not, by the time I finished, I’d look up from my imaginary podium and see something like this:
My assumption is that somewhere between the “asking the question” and the “ending the answer”, they got the information they were looking for. To me, it was a service to provide, and I did it well. Besides, a lot of people don’t sleep enough these days.
Recently, however, someone interrupted me half way through my answer (granted, we started talking over breakfast and it was now lunch time. Besides, I had to pee). This person explained that when she asked me “what happened to you?”, she meant “what specific single event took place during your lifetime that has caused you, Dave Buck, to act like a complete imbecile and someone a fraction of your actual age, versus someone with even the slightest amount of maturity, as would be appropriate for a position of your age and title?”
I couldn’t believe that someone could ask me, Dave, such a question. I mean, look at me. I am often quite serious. Especially when necessary, like before racing midget motocross:
But alas, being the introspective and mature person that I am, I began some deep inward soul-searching (versus “outward soul-searching” which has to do with foods such as country-fried steak, ham hocks, chitterlings, black-eyed peas, collard greens, corn bread and grits). Plus, since my wife was the person who asked said question, I was pretty sure it was one I needed to think about. (Granted, the appointment she made with the shrink added a bit of urgency to getting the answer, but I digress.)
With the help of “Doctor Phillip” (who is really a great guy but I wish he would…just once…raise his voice and get worked up over something), I was able to search the deep, dark recesses of my mind (that took all of 30 seconds) and find it. The event. The deal. The big boom. The turning point. The time everything changed. The “X factor”. The “WOW Moment”. The time the earth stood still. The time for all men to come to the aid of their country. Old Time, that greatest and longest established spinner of all! His factory is a secret place, his work is noiseless, and his hands are mutes. (I had to throw in some Charles Dickens for some dramatic effect. Pretty impressive, huh?)
So, what was I talking about? Someone help me out here.
OH YEAH! The “WOW Moment”.
As “Doctor Phillip” (name has not been changed because he doesn’t know how to raise his voice or get upset at anything. I’m thinking he liquored up before seeing me) began to probe the deep, dark, recesses of my mind, he found something. He exclaimed “AH HA!” and ran out of the room screaming. Finally, he came back, even calmer and more subdued than before. The nice guys in the white suits were with him. They had this weird jacket thing that was not very comfortable at all, but hey, if it makes “Doctor Phillip” happy, whatever.
So what was this “AH HA!” moment? It was an event that happened during my teen years. My buddies and I were rather rebellious and it was during the time when I took up smoking, drinking, hanging out with the wrong crowd and riding playground merry-go-rounds. Yes, that’s right, you heard me. I’m not proud of it but…it’s what the real rebels do. I know that sounds extreme, but I’m an EXTREME KIND OF GUY. (Heck, I ride midget motocross. Need I say more? I didn’t think so).
So there we were…hanging out at the park, riding the…*gulp*…playground merry-go-round. The neighbors were frightened, the neighborhood kids were all pulled inside their safe, comfortable, non-rebellious homes. The shutters were closed and blinds drawn. It was a dark and stormy day, and the sun turned blood red (except during the below video, as that would have made really poor video lighting conditions). The rebels were in control of the neighborhood and there was NOTHING that would stop us. Yeah, that’s right. I was the ringleader, and PROUD OF IT!! There was NOTHING that was gonna get in my way of…mastering the playground merry-go-round. Yeah, I was gonna teach it a lesson that day. It was ME and my friend ZEKE versus…the merry-go-round. It was a day of reckoning. We had finally figured out how to take that merry-go-round riding to the next level. That thing didn’t know what we had in store for it but no longer would it master US. No sir, we were going to master IT. And it would never be the same.
These rebellious days are not days that I am proud of today. No, I’m a better person now. I have learned from my mistakes and turned from my rebellious days. I’m a productive member of society and hope that, in some small way, I can repay society for all the damage and turmoil that I caused during those dark, sun-turned-to-blood days. Yes, this is what drives me to write this column. Perhaps, in some small way, the smiles that I generate can…perhaps…erase the many frowns that I caused that neighborhood…that merry-go-round (which I’m sure would have frowned if it could have and if it were alive and if it were a person). I shall maintain this quest now that “Doctor Phillip” has helped me have a renewed awareness of that dark day.
I remembered that a fellow member of my rebellious gang (called the “Street Sweepers”, because we thought it’d be cool to carry brooms around. Plus we all worked in a warehouse sweeping up rat droppings) taped this event. I tracked him down and found him in the State Penn serving time for…yep, vandalizing a playground swing set. I guess some people never really grew up but stayed in their rebellious ways. Anyway, I got the video and here it is.
Before watching, I would ask that all young children, the elderly, and anyone with a weak heart please…leave the room. This is much too graphic for you. Again, I am not proud of these times when the Street Sweepers played havoc on the neighborhood.
Please do not try this at home. Pay special attention to me, in the red pants.
The head injury wasn’t too bad, although the doctor did tell me I have dain bramage.
So there you have it. The event. The deal. The big boom. The turning point. The time everything changed. The “X factor”. The “WOW Moment”. The time the earth stood still. The time for all men to come to the aid of their country. Old Time, that greatest and longest established spinner of all! His factory is a secret place, his work is noiseless, and his hands are mutes. (You can never have too much Charles Dickens, can you?)
Does everything now make more sense to you? I thought it might. So please, don’t wonder any more. Just understand that I, Dave, am repaying society for my past and, in reading this article and subscribing to Earth to Dave! , you are contributing to my rehabilitation. “Doctor Phillip” will thank you. My wife will thank you. Society thanks you. (Did I mention that you can subscribe to Earth to Dave! ? Just click the SUBSCRIBE TO E2D! button at the top of the page. Doing so will help increase web traffic and thus my advertisers will thank you. Just THINK about all the THANKS. That’s, thankfully, alot of thinking about thanks, and while you might think about thanking me, think again. Thanks comes from me for just getting you to think about thanking me for making you think. And for that, I will be eternally thankful.)
I’d write more, but it’s time for me to put my (very uncomfortable) jacket back on. The nice men are here waiting for me.
(Ex-Leader of the famed “Street Sweepers”)