I‘m at the age now when I can safely say there are certain experiences I shall never have. Included among these are sky diving, leaping high enough to slam dunk and spending time in a shark tank at an aquarium.
All are life-altering adventures I’m sure I can happily live without. I don’t regret being deprived of having lunch with a suicide bomber or knowing the thrill of severe tire damage but I wouldn’t mind having a pie thrown in my face. Almost any but coconut would be fine; lemon meringue would be my preference. Make a note of that.
I have never carved my initials in a tree. I don’t suppose trees enjoy being carved. Someday I might be part of one. About 30 years ago Peggy and I traveled to the Cascine Woods outside of Florence. We were told that Percy Shelley wrote Ode to the West Wind in these woods and carved his name and date on one of them. We couldn’t find evidence of that but we did leave our camera on the rear seat of the bus when we were left off. Fortunately two stops later was the end of the line and the bus turned around and came back. We reclaimed it so the day was a sort of success in the way wins and losses in life are recorded.
Among the things I have accomplished which not everyone can claim is climbing 366 steps of a narrow, steep spiral staircase in the Belfry of Bruges to reach the bell tower. And then there’s the coming down. When I think of those close walls I get claustrophobic. When I think of why I did it my mind goes blank.
I also never caught a foul ball watching a Dodger game. Of course, it’s even harder from the couch at home with my hands holding a sandwich.
I never did any white-water rafting unless you count the Popsicle sticks I launched down the gutter into a sewer. I did climb trees and have no memory of getting down but I suppose I did.
I did pick the wrong man in a police line-up. I think he was the desk sergeant. The bad guy who had shoved me to the floor with a gun at my head, had shaved his head. I didn’t count on that. He was convicted anyway and died in Atascadero prison.
I have no aptitude for tying knots which is one reason I never got past the rank of Tenderfoot in the Boy Scouts. There were probably other reasons as well. I couldn’t bring myself to tie a hangman’s noose. I hope never to learn.
One of my humblest achievements, which demonstrates an abnormal lack of business acumen, is to have lived here for the past 63 years, owned six properties, and not made a nickel on real estate. It takes a special skill. The art of buying and selling eludes me. Anyone who might have followed me around all that time and done exactly the opposite would be a multi-millionaire today. In compensation I feel I should be allowed to win the lottery but that would mean buying a ticket and that’s out of the question.
I have voted for losing presidents ten times – eleven if you count the one in 5th grade but actually I voted for my opponent and lost by a single vote. I thought it was the polite thing to do. That ended my aspiration for public office.
As for singing acapella, playing the piano by ear, dancing the tango or doing magic tricks – I’ll catch up with these in my next incarnation. There’s still time for me with the pie.