Dumb & More Dummer

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July 10th, 2011

There have been times in my life I’ve been stupid. I mean, grand scale, thinking outside of the box dumb. No, I’m not referring to when I couldn’t get my car started early one morning up in Midland so I jumped it with the van, pulled out, closed the garage door and went to work. […]

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There have been times in my life I’ve been stupid. I mean, grand scale, thinking outside of the box dumb.

No, I’m not referring to when I couldn’t get my car started early one morning up in Midland so I jumped it with the van, pulled out, closed the garage door and went to work. The scared-out-of-her-wits phone call from my wife a few hours later asking why the van was running in a closed garage still terrifies me.

That was a mistake. Epic yes, but it wasn’t planned. The type of stupidity I’m thinking about involves me making a conscious decision to do dumb.

But boy, both times I did so were insanely fun. Yes, I’ve only been purposefully preposterous twice in my life. If any of you know of other times, shhhhh!

Number one on my list is skeetching. You probably haven’t heard much about skeetching since, oh I don’t know, the 1970s. If you are under 18, please click over to another webpage like cracked.com or catsthatlooklikehitler.com. Okay grownups, to skeetch you need two things; a car and a very snowy road. Uh, you need three things; stupidity, a car and a very snowy road.

The driver of the car, knowingly or unwittingly, drives down said snowy road while the skeetcher grabs onto the bumper and slip-slides away. Kids back in the ridiculous years of the 70s would sometimes even pretend to help a stranded motorist by pushing them out of a snowy patch, then hold tight as the car drove away.

The definition of dumb.

In my case, a group of my friends decided that one very dark and snowy winter’s night was the ideal time to jeopardize our futures. The Pleasant Ridge cops were known for their systematic cruising and once they came by your street, they assuredly wouldn’t be back again for hours. We watched and waited for them to make their pass but that night they never did.

One of us at a time got to be the “responsible” designated driver, while the others held onto the rear of the car and crouched, stood bent over, or even laid down for the duration. Inches of snow separated us from death or road rash. It was hysterical.

Then we got the bright idea to “Indiana Jones it” and try to push all the others off. I remember holding on with one hand, skidding along the street, all the while pushing/pulling and punching my buddies to get them to fall off first. Sometimes we’d even wrap our bodies around each other and let go, thus pulling both parties off to a declared draw.


God, but it was fun.

It took another ten years before I signed on to something almost as insane. And this time I brought my wife along for the ride.

In New Hampshire, some friends of friends of friends were thinking about opening a riding stable that catered to more adventurous horse enthusiasts. Would we, they wanted to know, help them experiment? And oh, by the way, it would be at night.

Let’s see; enormous animals, a moonless New Hampshire evening, galloping? Sure, sign us up.

The thought was, horses know the trails they ride day in and month out. Why not take riders along these same trails at night time?

Why not?

There’s not a lot to report. Really. If you’ve ever ridden on Space Mountain you may remember zipping through mostly darkness, whipping this way and that, not knowing when things would end. Imagine doing that except not on a track, or with seat belts, or a mega insurance policy backed by years of precision testing.

Yeah, imagine that. We were trotting along the blind backwoods when suddenly the horses came to the place where they normally run. Giddyup. They took off like shooting stars, streaking through the night, although with far, far less illumination.

And that was our night time horseback ride. Later, the moon rose and it was actually quite beautiful. Our guides circled back to make sure, mostly, that we were all there. And later, we drove home shaken to the very core of our beings with wobbly thighs and saddle sores. Wow, that was awesome.

Those were the two most idiotic things I’ve ever done.

Until now.

Way, way back when I didn’t have to check in with my doctors every week or two, I packed my summer with travel. I was sure everything would go smoothly so I figured why not travel to the wilds of Canada, then down to the slightly less wild North Carolina. I ignored the distance from me, at any given point, to a bone marrow specialist, or a hospital, or even a doctor.

I may as well have migrated to Marrakesh for the reaction I got from my doctors. “What if something goes wrong?” they wanted to know.

“Uh, maple syrup’s good on cuts, eh?”

I think I must’ve batted my eyelashes and made my best puppy dog face because they agreed to my travel, as long as I stopped in for a full exam before, between and after the trips.

I’ll admit, laying in my bed at the very tip of the Bruce Peninsula jutting into Lake Huron, I realized I was hours away from any help if the unforeseeable were to bump in the night. It made me kind of nervous. Not nervous as in dragging from a car or screaming, equine-style, through the night. But I inhaled and exhaled more calmly as the vacation came to an end. Although Canadian health care is awfully darn good and affordable!

I’m heading to North Carolina next and am hoping for snowless roads and horseless paths. No, traveling isn’t stupid, per say. But wandering far from care when my sole job these days is to heal, well, maybe it’s not the brightest decision.

Never mind the quicksand Mr. Livingstone, isn’t the jungle lovely?

I’m bound to do more dumb things in my life. Determined actually. And surely as I hit POST, more idiotic things I’ve done will pop up in my memory, or through reminders from those unfortunate enough to have endured them with me.

And kids, if you’re still reading, don’t try any of this at home.

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