Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rules and a Door, Both Broken

My brother and I played games, all kinds in any place. From Risk and Monopoly to Ping Pong and Basketball. Chores in particular, if done in tandem, were turned into games. "Weeding tomatoes" transformed into "the hammer throw." The "hammer" consisted of tall weeds extracted in deliberate bunches to pull out the largest possible dirt clod clinging to the root base. The "throw" involved holding the weed tops, whirling the clod about in a furious circle and then releasing the newly weeded hammer at the precise point needed to achieve both maximum escape velocity and an optimal initial flight trajectory. Releases made at the wrong tangent point were rather disastrous. The winner was the person whose hammer landed the farthest into the field. The tomato patch was the definite loser as it rapidly took on a striking resemblance to the cratered surface of the moon.

Our games also always had Rules. Especially our spontaneously imagineered games. The Rules defined what was allowed and not allowed and especially how points were scored. The first Rule of all invented games was that the Rules were to be followed.

Boxing was a simple example of Rules.


One pair of boxing gloves. Not one pair each, one pair total: two gloves. Now these were genuine (sure nuff) boxing gloves with laces to secure each glove on the wrist and forearm, but the hitting portion of each glove was about double the size of the kind that "real" boxer's use. This extra cushion made our gloves more boxing pillows than gloves. Each brother got one of the gloves. I received the right glove and my brother the left. We were both right handed, but he was 3 1/2 years my elder therefore I got the privilege of boxing with my dominant hand.

Our non boxing hands were wrapped in an assortment of socks, head bands, wrist bands and ace bandages. To this day I am unclear as to the purpose of this portion of our equipment, because, as stated next in the Rules, we weren't allowed to hit with the non gloved hand. Weird.

The Rules:

1. No hitting the head of the other person.
2. No hitting with the non gloved hand (no matter how well socked or bandaged it was.)

That was it.

The Play:

Unlike most games, we had no clear idea how boxing was supposed to be done. We would circle one other and attempt to hit with our one glove. As we were facing one another, my right hand and his left hand were on the same side, so, for the most part, we would just end up hitting the other person's glove. As the gloves were pillow like, little happened. My brother received the worst part however, because the gloves had rather long laces and I was very poor at securing mine. As a result, my glove would have a long tail (like an untied shoe lace). As I punched, my glove's tail would whip around and slap my brother in the face and make him mad.

Boxing was usually uneventful (minus the loose lace), until the day I went insane. Well, not insane really, but I definitely lost my mind and let instinct completely take over. I feinted with my glove hand and then beautifully punched my older, larger, bigger, stronger, faster, brother, square in the head, with my socked-wrist banded-ace bandaged hand.

I had just broken the complete Rules of Boxing in less than a second.

I was a dead man.

Or boy at least.

My brother, already irritated from being whipped with my glove's loose lace went berserk. The Rules of Boxing no longer applied because I had spectacularly broken them all. He was in hot pursuit to pummel me for my sin. And I, who fully realized the error of my ways but was not about to meet my due punishment, took off.

Now our "L" shaped house had all the bedrooms connected via a hallway in the bottom part of the L. The rest of the house was one large "great" room with furniture (couches) and kitchen cabinets left to define the rest of the rooms. We had been boxing in the "living room" area which was the portion of the great room closest to the bedroom hallway and there was a long couch that defined one side of that area. The couch's backside was set away from the wall several feet so as to form a hallway of sorts leading to the bedroom hall and ending at the bathroom door. My bedroom door was an immediate ninety degree turn to the right from the bathroom door.

My survival instincts told me that I would not win a straight line race with my brother so I went around the couch. Although I was slower, I was also smaller so my cornering ability equalled my brothers. We went back and forth around opposite ends of the couch until his impatience took over and he leaped over the couch to get me.

This was my chance, I broke for the bedroom hallway hoping to gain my bedroom and the relative safety of a locked door. But there wasn't time for the ninety degree turn into my bedroom. I dove into the bathroom straight ahead, slammed the door shut behind me and then rolled and jammed my foot into the crack at the bottom of the door to keep it shut. There wasn't time for the door lock.

I was hoping that a little time would help cool down the fury outside my bathroom haven.

The bathroom door was then broken off its hinges and the door with my brother riding it, landed on top of me.

At that point everything changed. Fury and flight were gone. We were now partners and cohorts because we had just broken the house. We looked at each other and the door and hinges with our minds racing. We finally settled on glue. We filled the formerly door screw occupied holes with Elmer's glue. Tipped the door back upright, shoved the screws back into their places, and shut the door.

There ended up being just enough time between the door being broken and mom or dad returning home for the glue to set. It was amazing, the door actually worked! It did kind of drag along the carpet when opened, but actually functioned.

Huge sigh of relief.

Several months later my mom called to us, "Boys, could you come here? The bathroom door just fell off, and your father and I think you had something to do with it..."


Mrs. Hart said...

"Several months later..."
MONTHS...?! Wow, you guys definitely had seared consciences! How did you sleep at night with all that guilt weighing you down?!
Enjoying your "true confessions",

Rob said...

Yes, a complete and immediate confession should have been done. Not doing so was definately avoiding accountability and discipline.
Looking back I think we felt we had "fixed" our mistake and therefor all was well. The dumb logic of a couple of foolish boys.

Anna Naomi said...

Everyone here enjoys reading your posts! When someone starts laughing while on the computer, the rest of us usually guesses whose blog they're reading... =)

Rob said...

I am glad to bring humor into your home.
It is interesting because I am usually torn between two thoughts as they are written: The first is enjoying the humor of the situations as they happened, the second is the disbelief/dislike of the character (lack of) I displayed at that time of my life.